Friday, November 27, 2020

The surprisingly flourishing garden...

 At this time of year in the tropics there's not much we can grow with regards to vegetables and herbs, but this year has been a tad different. It's taken a lot of daily care (and a slow to arrive wet season) but we are actually reaping a surprising bounty at the moment. 

Green salad cucumbers which we slice and eat like potato chips, pickling gherkins, rockmelons, watermelons, tomatoes - roma and cherry, malabar spinach, silverbeet, perpetual spinach, blueberries, spring onions, kale, chillies, long peppers, red onions, leeks, pigeon peas, bananas, pineapples, chives, sage, parsley, mint, comfrey, tarragon, dandelion, rosemary, basil, marjoram, oregano, lemons, limes and lemongrass...

Let me take you on a tour.

We find many hours need to be spent each week and indeed most days, keeping up with everything, but the joy and satisfaction of reaping a harvest is wonderful. 

We also have carrots just breaking through the soil and many lovely flowers scattered around. The perennial hibiscus trees, ixora, bouganvillea and bottle brush are in full bloom, but we also have other blooms to capture the eye - oriental jasmine and geraniums being my favourite right now.

It's not until I took these photos and began typing this post that I realised just how abundant our small quarter acre truly is, and the sense of gratitude in my heart to the Lord who led us to buy this particular home just over two years ago was magnified yet again.

There was hardly anything growing here back then, and a lot of concrete and rocks that needed to be broken up and removed in order to make garden areas (my husband worked like a trojan to tame and create our little patch called home) - but what we've learned is that persistence, a vision and physical toil brings great rewards. 

Hope you enjoyed the little wander around. 

Bless you dear ones and may the Lord of all Creation bring beauty and bounty to your hearts in these coming days, just as surely as He brought them to our garden.

"Oh taste and see that the Lord is good."
Psalm 34:8

Loving hugs

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Final blocks and quilt assembly...


I'm a day early with the final two blocks and quilt assembly pattern but as I never know from one day to the next now whether I'll be awoken with a phone call in the middle of the night from Blossom to say "I'm in labour, come now to watch the girls" I thought it best to share it now while all is quiet on baby watch.

This last section of Joy to the World has three blocks but two of them are identical Friendship Stars...

They are positioned in the bottom left corner and top right corner.

I love these little pieced blocks and they were just right to be included in the quilt because my mind kept thinking of that old hymn...

"What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear; what a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer." 

Do you remember this hymn? So many beautiful verses and if you'd like to read or sing the rest you'll find the lyrics HERE. I can't get it out of my mind now and that's rather lovely. 

The final block is the name of the quilt, the exaltation of our hearts when we rejoice together on Christmas morn as we remember and give thanks for the gift so precious of God's Son to the world.

This block sits in the centre of the quilt and the full assembly instructions are included with the the Friendship Star and Joy to the World blocks.

To download the free pattern just click the link below.


I hope you've enjoyed the free stitch-along this month? I know it's been a blessing to me personally because it's drawn my heart and mind over and over to the wonder of this celebration, even though Jesus was not born on December 25.

May the time spent stitching His story with needle and thread bring you an abundance of joy, peace, hope and love...

Loving hugs

PS: If no baby arrives overnight I'll do my garden update blog tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

TUTORIAL - easy tie top pillow...


If you're like me (someone who loves to embroider and has a huge pile of completed stitcheries packed away in a large plastic tub in their sewing room) then you're probably often on the lookout for simple project ideas which could delightfully feature a few of those orphan hand embroidered pieces, right?

This past year I've made three tie-top pillows from some large stitchery blocks and every time I've been incredibly happy with the final display!

As many of us are now in gift-giving mode and perhaps don't have too many pennies spare to go shopping this Christmas season, I thought it would be a good idea to share a simple tutorial for making  your own tie top pillow from one, two, three or a dozen orphan stitcheries. Now, I only use fabrics which are already in my sewing room and I encourage you to do the same because apart from purchasing a basic cushion insert for a few dollars the rest of the pillow project won't cost you a cent - though it will require half an hour of your time. 

The stitchery I've used for my latest pillow is one of three in December's "Faith In Hand" set (over here) but you could use any stitchery you like - in fact if you're more of a patchworker or English paper-piecing gal either of those would work just as well.

 I'll share the measurements for my pillow, but you'll soon see that it's easy to use any measurements depending on the size of your pillow front.

For this pillow I trimmed the stitchery to 8.5" wide x 9.5" high and bordered the block with 2.25"wide lengths of leafy fabric. This gave me a pillow front of 12" x 13" which I then fused Pellon behind and machine quilted in straight lines (you could use quilt wadding, but I had odd shaped pieces of Pellon in my scrap wadding box and chose to make use of one)...

Cut a piece of backing fabric the same size as the pillow front (my front is 12" x 13" so my pillow back is 12" x 13" as well) and two pieces of contrast fabric 2.5" x 12" (the width of the pillow front) to sew across the top of front and back later...

You'll also need four pieces of fabric 2.5" x 12" for the ties.

We need to make the ties before we go any further. 

Fold each of the four ties in half along their length. Sew across one narrow end with a curve and continue down the side with a 1/4 inch seam  - leave the remaining narrow end open.

Trim away the excess on the curved end.

Turn the tie right side out and press flat.

Here's each stage...

Pin the raw end of each tie to the top edge of the pillow front and back. Mine were spaced 3.5" apart.

Lay the contrast pieces you cut earlier over the ties so that the ties are sandwiched between the pillow front/back and the contrast fabric. Sew across the top with a 1/4 inch seam and press the contrast fabric away from the pillow front/back.

Lay the front and back of the pillow right sides together and sew around the sides and bottom with a 1/4 inch seam.

Fold a double 1/4 inch hem along the raw edge of the contrast facing fabric and sew in place.

Turn your pillow right side out, pushing the contrast facing inside and pressing the ties away from the pillow.

Now all you need do is pop in an inexpensive cushion insert (I buy mine at Spotlight), tie the top, and you have a really cute tie-top pillow to keep or gift.

I usually tie bows across the top of these pillows but for this one I liked the dangling ties. Do what you love!

Here's one of my other tie-top pillows which sat on our bed through autumn and winter. I added three green/white spot ties because they contrasted beautifully with the rich red...

The pattern for the "Potted Sampler"stitchery used in this pillow is over HERE in my shop. I actually made that design twice because I wanted to show it in two different colourways (both are included in the pattern).

The deeper reds work well with our autumn/winter bedspread...

But the softer colours are very shabby chic and perfect for our spring/summer bed coverings.
Of course this means I'm late making a new pillow because I haven't even begun this one. 
Adding it to my to-do list right now...

Just out of curiosity, which colour palette do you prefer for this design?

Well, I'd best be off and get dinner for my darling man as this tutorial was written up later in the day than I'd planned, but for a jolly good reason...I spent a few wonderful hours with Blossom and the girls this morning and rather than having her usual nap when the girls do, Bloss asked me to stay an extra hour just so we could chat without interruptions. What a blessed day I had. 

She's still hanging on and though there are signs the baby is not far off making his appearance we all know that the more babies you have the more you 'feel' things sooner rather than later. If he hasn't arrived in a week Blossom will be induced so would you pray her little lad makes an appearance before then please? (thank you xx)

Shall you be making one or more of these pillows??

I have some wonderful garden pics to share with you next time...

Loving hugs