"The ordinary acts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest."

Thomas Moore

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Ooooohhhhh, this is sooo snuggly...

I saw this quilt on Jane's blog and fell in envious love.

Now, I need to make it.
Don't you think that gingham flounce around the border is gorgeous?! This quilt is just where my style is heading for us girls in the home - feminine, pretty, inviting, and so vintage chic!
Lead on, oh sweet shabby designs...



Gari was number 31, picked through our good friend, Random.org!

I'll be emailing you for your address, Gari...congratulations!!! I hope you enjoy sewing with those fat quarters!

Thanks to everyone who entered. I'm sure I'll do another giveaway in the future...


The last cushion...

That could almost be the title of a low-budget movie. ;-)

Here is the last of the 4 chocolate couch cushions. I chose not to use any more Anna Maria Horner because I found this lovely fat quarter hiding away and knew it should be given a large canvas instead of being chopped.
I added lots of buttons no the front for visual effect, and then used buttons on the back (you cannot see them) to close the cushion.

All we need now is a quilt and a new wallhanging or painting and I can say 'finished' to their space.
Next I'll start work on some softer, more feminine accessories for the girl's area of the home.
I may be working much slower though. I've been battling a lot of pain in my right wrist/thumb lately and after seeing the doctor yesterday I have been diagnosed with tendonitis . From tomorrow I will be wearing a specially made splint to keep my thumb and wrist immobile....this will severely hamper my sewing for a bit. :-(
And in case you're wondering I didn't do the damage through too much stitching (hubby's very first thought!), I damaged the tendon watering my lovely garden this Australian summer.

Ah well..I must find new ways to sew. Necessity is the mother of invention they say.

I'll be back soon to tell you who has won the Debbie Mumm giveaway! It's Thursday morning here so all entries have closed.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A cushion, a bag and some advice needed...

We needed two more cushions for the chocolate couch in the living room, and as the other two are embroidered and appliqued I thought I'd make the remaining two cushions simpler, focusing on the fabric itself for effect.
I chose this busy and bright print from Anna Maria Horner's Bohemian range for the cushion I made today, adding just a touch of ribbon and some pretty blue snap closures up the side.

Later today I'll make the remaining cushion, but as yet I haven't chosen the fabric. I still have some good sized pieces from the Bohemian range so I'll probably choose one of them.

Years ago I found a pattern for a carpet bag, and as soon as I saw it I knew I wanted to make it. Because we always move to little towns I rarely have much choice in fabrics, notions and handles for bags as craft stores are smaller with limited range (or even non-existent in one place we lived!)
So I've waited quite a while to find just the right handles I'd need to complete the carpet bag - but last week I did!

As I was roaming round Judith's online store, Calico Cottage, I found *the* handles, and today they arrived in the mail.
Now here is where I need your help.
Last May Blossom bought me this beautiful fabric, black background with vibrant red poppies and lush green leaves. I chose the fabric for a bag, and she bought little black plastic handles to match (and a poppy button!), but I have just never gone any further than thinking about how I'd put them all together.
When the wooden handles arrived today I thought perhaps I could use the poppy fabric in the carpet bag pattern. I showed Blossom but she wasn't very enthusiastic - she thinks the brown wooden handles clash with the colours in the fabric....soooo, I wondered what YOU thought?

Should I use a different fabric for the bag and keep the poppy fabric to use with the black handles one day? or do you think the fabric would be fine with the wooden handles? Help, please.

Don't forget, there are only a few hours left before the giveaway is drawn - have you left a comment to enter yet?

Blessings and laughter to you all,

PS: The pattern for the bag is by Carol Lewis and can be found in Country Threads magazine Vol 4 No 11.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

"la femme" - a free pattern from me to {{you}}

The weather was rainy and cool today - perfect for a new idea to progress from mind to paper, and into reality!
As I mentioned yesterday I wanted to design a bag to hold our private women's things, one that could hold those feminine articles comfortably and prettily whilst hanging from the handle of the toilet door...and voila! it's done.
Do you like it?

Apart from the green check all the fabrics are the Sandy Gervais designed "Celebrate Spring" range from Moda. They are so pretty and fresh!
The bag is 10 1/4" x 8 1/4", not including the handles.

Now, because I think giving is the best of fun, I've worked really hard to write this up as a pattern - and if you knew me well you'd understand how hard that was for the very visual let-me-SHOW-you person that I am! I'd be much happier if you could just pop round to my house and watch me make it, but as that may not be a trip you're likely to make any time soon, I've fumbled my way through written instructions and I'm giving them to you to decipher as best you can. :-)
Please leave a comment here if you like the design, and if you do decide to make it let me know if my instructions were helpful or thoroughly frustrating, ok?
I am in such awe of designers whose flair with fabric washes over into their flair for teaching and writing pattern instructions!

(update 2012 - ..see new web page for sharing this design HERE.)


PS: I did not add the DMC thread colours from the embroidery to the pattern because you will need to use threads that complement your own fabric choices. :-)
PSS: If you make this PLEASE send me a photo of it! I'd love to see yours!

Monday, February 23, 2009


Near the top of my 'to-make' list for the last few months has been a present for my sweet friend, Leanne. Her and I daily hold each other's children in prayer and I am so thankful the Lord brought her into my life last year.
I have been holding off making a gift because I just wasn't sure what it should be, then last night the picture unfolded in my mind and I set to work!

The embroidery is by Suzanne Jeffries, one of twelve she designed for a quilt in Australian Patchwork & Quilting magazine Vol 16 No.3 - I love the sentiment, it is exactly how I feel.

The cushion design is my own. Do you like the ribbon and ruffle down the right hand side? I love ruffles!

The postman brought me another Birthday Fat 1/4 parcel today, from Maree at On My Verandah. Lovely fabrics in bright colours I'm already forming uses for in my imagination, and some beautiful soap and a scented sachet - divine! Thank you Maree!

Tonight I'm going to be playing around with a design for a feminine hygiene bag. That little bag I made yesterday got me thinking just how practical a bag for such a purpose can be. Once I have it on paper it won't be long until I have it made so watch this blog - I'm happy to share with you. :-)

Is there a special friend somewhere you haven't heard from in a while? Why not send a little card and let them know how much they mean to you. Or perhaps you can sew a little gift?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Pretty bag giveaway...

...on Judi's blog!

Tell her I sent you. :-)


Finishing some long overdue UFO's

All those stitcheries I've been hoarding have been crying out for me to give them a chance to display their pretty selves, so I shelved all my sketches of wonky houses and took heed to their patient pleas.
Actually it was good to finish some UFO's! I just needed the prodding. ;-)

First off I made Natalie Lymer's Blue Wren's Nest Tote, a free pattern she shared over at Hugs 'n Kisses last year. The bag is tiny, a mere 6 1/2 inches wide, and I wondered as I was sewing the last few seams just what I could use it for - then a brainwave hit!
The women in our family have a little bag that hangs from the toilet door as a holder for our feminine hygiene products, and for the longest time I would sit and stare at it (whilst frequenting the little room), planning to one day make a nicer, prettier bag to hold our girlie needs. This afternoon, when I stitched the Blue Wren's Nest tote, my mission was finally achieved.

I used some of the birthday fabric I received from Jeni as part of the Fat Quarter Birthday Swap - it was a perfect match for the colours in the stitchery.

Last night after the migraine subsided and the birthday cake had been eaten I retired to the bedroom (which doubles as my sewing area) to play around with the stitchery below. The embroidery was done a while ago, but I've been waiting to buy the wool felt for the needle-case, and it only just arrived in the post.
Now that it's finished I can finally post it to my dear friend Ruth whose friendship and prayers over many years have blessed me so much. It was supposed to be for her birthday last year but I'm soooooo late. Love you, Ruth!

The pattern is by Barbara Green and can be found in Patchwork & Stitching Vol.6 No. 10 - isn't it sweet!?

Now to work out what to do with the rest of those embroideries that haven't yet found a home, or perhaps I'll start a new one to stitch while I watch Cranford tonight?

May your own day be filled with creative joy!

PS: Don't forget to leave a comment on the Giveaway post by February 25th to be in the draw for 8 Debbie Mumm fat 1/4's!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Birthday Giveaway!

Do you like giveaways!?
I love them!

To celebrate my 50th birthday (Feb 21st) I am having a giveaway!

If you would like to be in the draw for a bundle of 8 Debbie Mumm fat 1/4's all you need do is leave a comment.

I'll close the draw on Wednesday 25th, and announce the random winner on the 26th.

Good luck!

It's my birthday!

The big day has arrived.
After 3 days of up and down migraine I awoke to its continuing pain on my 50th birthday.
Phone calls from loved ones, presents to unwrap, and emails of thank you filled the first hours before I headed back to bed and sleep, praying my migraine would finally consent to leave.
Well, about 40 minutes ago it lifted (around 3pm our time) . \o/\o/

Though too late now to arrange dinner out (and not sure I could do it justice as my tummy is a bit tender after all that medication) we're just going to enjoy the night in each other's company feasting on the beautiful custard filled Boston Cake decorated with pretty pink rosebuds and a '50' in the centre that Blossom made ready for us.
Just being with the ones I love is a gift in itself that I consider priceless!
Another milestone reached today was by my youngest grandson. My eldest daughter rang, delighted, to share that little Deegan had taken his very first steps on my 50th birthday! They should be here visiting in May so I'm sure by then he'll be running and I will be doing the chasing.

Would you like to see what I did with the other Camelzz - the applique one?
I made ANOTHER cushion! I really like this one, especially the button top.

I have one more cushion to make, for the Redwork Cushion Swap, then I'm going to do something different...perhaps some wall quilts to liven the rest of our living space. I also have some ideas for dolls and animals, but that's another story. ;-)

Yesterday I received another beautiful parcel from a member of Maree's 2009 Birthday Fat Quarters Swap. Narelle of Country Roses sent me two gorgeous fat 1/4's, both in styles that I'm using this year - funky boho, and shabby chic. As a little bonus Narelle added in some variegated threads which I thought so funny as the last month I've been quite hooked on them! Thanks so much, Narelle, I love them!

Now I'd best go enjoy being pampered.

I'll be back soon with a 50th birthday giveaway....

Hugs and blessings,

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Elefantzz....a mate for Camelzz!

Today was a full day, lots of things that needed to be done outside of the home with the kids and for the kids, plus managing a migraine that fought my efforts to slow it every step of the way...and during all that I just wanted to finish my cushions.
Eventually the pills began to have an effect and after my last trip out was accomplished I was finally able to grab an hour or two of stitching before starting dinner.

Camelzz is now a finished cushion, and doesn't he match our chocolate couch perfectly?!

And now here is his friend - Elefantzz!

Together they make great mates, and best of all they have lifted the drabness of the chocolate couches and brought some colourful pizazz t0 our living room. Mission accomplished!

With the cushions finished I discovered the teens had run off down to the beach and hubby had to go out to pick up things for the school, sooooooooooooooo.....

I have been holding off adding the borders to my blocks for Gail Pan's Christmas BOM because I'm not terribly fond of Christmas fabrics - all that glitzy gold, the holly and the angels, well...I just don't particularly like them.
I had a scrap of lovely rose fabric that I wanted to use but did not have enough, so I found another similar fabric on ebay, then discovered the very pretty green leaves print when I was out today - so with the extra time left to me before dinner I added borders to both and I'm REALLY happy that I waited until I found fabrics that were 'just right'.

How do you store your BOM's?
With 4 or 5 on the go this year already I had bits and pieces strewn all over, so I've gotten my act together and packed them each in their own large zip-lock bag. Each BOM bag has all the threads, fabrics, finished blocks and patterns that I'll need to put them together eventually. I hung them on a skirt hanger in my hall cupboard and patted myself on the back for being so organised. ;-)

Now I just need to organise all my other sewing projects...aaah well, one thing at a time.

Happy stitching!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


We've homeschooled our 14yo daughter, Blossom, for the last 9 1/2 years, and I have to tell you that it has been an amazing experience. Through her I've been able to wind back the clock and read again the classic novels of my childhood, discover the world through eyes that are not tarnished and cynical, and be brave enough to learn new skills even when I was on the downward slope to 50.

I started sewing about 3 1/2 years ago, and I thought it was me who encouraged her to follow suit, but today I picked up my favourite pincushion and realised she had made it for me almost 5 years ago when she was just 9 and experimenting with needle and thread for the first time.

Since then she has been turning her hand to so many things, all of them creative, and all of them she does extremely well.
She makes beautiful rosaries which she sells from one of her blogs, knits, cross-stitches, crochets, quilts, beads, makes cards, embroiders, scrapbooks, makes bobbin lace...well, I think she can do just about anything crafty if she finds a book and has a notion to learn. You can see some of her work here.

At the weekend she finished a trauma teddy to be sent to the bushfire appeal through Mrs Martin's Quilt Shop, along with two baby quilts I'd made.

The she decided she'd like to make a gift for a friend who has lifted her spirits daily through some difficult times these past months. Her friend lives on a farm so she used our vegetable fabrics and designed and made this journal cover - all in day!

Her goal is to do something productive every day, and it seems a lot of her productivity is about giving. I'm so proud to be her mum and to have her in my life. I'm blessed to call her my friend as well as my daughter.

I love you, Blossom.
Mum xxx

Birthday Mail, and another Wonky House!

Today I received two more Birthday Fat 1/4 Swap parcels in the mail! Both came with handmade birthday cards, which were so cute - and I admit I am envious of people who can make cards as this is not an art I have managed thus far in life but I think I will have to give it a go before I begin posting birthday fat 1/4's back to these special ladies.

Cathy from Highland Quilter sent me fabrics in chocolates and pinks, and I have mentioned before that I *love* chocolate in any form, but to top it off she added in some threads to match and some real chocolates to tantalise my taste-buds! Thanks so much Cathy!

The very next parcel I opened contained fabrics in sumptuously soothing greens and blues, colours that exactly reflect the beautiful ocean hues just a hundred metres from our home. These beauties were from Marc of Daisy Jayne , and in the echoes of Goldilocks let me say, these were 'just right'! Thanks Marc!

Marc is also a Wonky Houses blogger, and last night she emailed me a photo of her block. Just like so many others who are stitching this block she has made it her own - don't you love the colours!

Tonight I'm stitching a companion cushion to Camelzz...I'll share Elefantzz tomorrow.

Sweet dreams,

Camelzz becoming a cushion...

I have decided to make Camelzz into a cushion...you can't see all that well in the pics but the chocolate fabric I've used in the sashing is the same colour as the lounge suite we bought last year. It's quite bland on it's own so I thought the bright colours I've used in Camelzz would look great expanded into cushions, adding life to our living room.
The cushions I've been using were made in my first months of patchwork in 2005, and reflected my desire to learn skills rather than expressions of styles I liked.
My sewing and design have definitely improved since then so now is the time to revamp the house with colour and originality, a true reflection of *my* style and that of our family.

I finished the cushion top last night and will sew the back and stuff it today. Then I'll start on the next cushion - perhaps Elefantzz next time? ;-)

Blossom has had a resurgence of her creative bug and is busy making a gift for a friend. The theme is based around the harvest of crops and we found a few veggie fabrics hidden in my stash for her to make use of.

She's done some lovely stitching!

What are you sewing today?


NEW Link for Wonky Houses Block 1

The link I gave previously for Wonky Houses Block 1 has been a bit of a hit and miss for those wanting to download it.
Some can and some can't, so with thanks to my tester, Karen, I've uploaded it again to a different file and it seems to work fine.

Here is the new link to WONKY HOUSES Block 1!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Giveaway on Judith's blog!

Judith, of Calico Cottage has just started a blog and in celebration she is giving away 2 gorgeous Bronywn Hayes patterns!
Welcome Judith to the blogging world by leaving a comment and you'll be in the draw!

(Now that I've shared this it lessens my own chance of winning....bother ;-)

Good luck!

More Wonky Houses

Sheila's son has been fighting the fires here in Australia. It seems that everyone in OZ has in some way made a personal connection to this disaster, but we are so grateful for those volunteers and firefighters who have manned the front-lines at personal risk to bring these fires under control. Thankyou Richard.

This is Sheila's first Wonky Houses block. Isn't it great?! I love how she has made it her own, adding and changing a few things to bring her own special mark to it!

I'm sooooo tempted to show you block 2....but I won't. ;-)


Having trouble downloading Wonky Houses?

If you are having trouble downloading Block 1 of WONKY HOUSES perhaps you may have success with it as a Word Doc? Here is the link to download Block 1 in that format.

You may also find that you need to join Scribd before you can download.

Stitch with love,

Monday, February 16, 2009

Fun with Camelzz! My gift to you!

If you could see inside my house you'd notice that scattered among the shabby chic is a smattering of Africa. I am in a quandry if called upon to disclose my decorating style - I love the soft pink and white of shabby chic roses, yet I also have a penchant for the vibrant oranges, blues and greens exhibited in my statues of African women and animals!
Yes, my home is a mish mash of both styles, but it's me.

Lately I've been playing around designing some new camel embroideries and I decided this was my favourite, CAMELZZ, so last night I sat and sewed him while I watched "Cranford" on ABC. (Are you loving it as much as Blossom and I!??)
I haven't decided what to do with my embroidery yet - perhaps a pillow, a wallhanging, a bag, or maybe a framed picture?? Hmmmm....all those possibilities!

If you like my CAMELZZ you can download the pattern here, as a gift from me to you, and as with all things I offer free I'd love you to email me with a photo when you've made your own.

Not content with just an embroidered version I drew a larger CAMELZZ outline and appliqued him! I think this one may find it's home far, far away with one of my Pay It Forward recipients...maybe.

Today Blossom has taken time out from her homeschooling bookwork to play around with some designs herself - owls seem to have taken her fancy. If I ask her nicely she just might share with you when she finishes.

Stitch every stitch with love,

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Making it your own...

Something I loved from the start with quilting and embroidery were the endless possibilities that could be created from one original design.
Yesterday I showed you a photo of Sabine's Wonky Houses block, how she'd added crayon colours to highlight the thread outline.
Today I want to show you Jane's block - she has chosen to use just one colour thread, a rich chocolate, and her sweet husband has already chosen the fabrics. I love what you have done, Jane!

Vickie from Humpty Doo also chose one colour and it stands out beautifully from the lovely background fabric she chose.

So far almost 500 people have downloaded the 1st Wonky Houses block - wow! I am touched that it would be so popular.
Thank you for choosing to make my first ever BOM design such fun!

Can I see a photo of your block soon?

Happy sewing,

PS: Remember, if you have trouble downloading the pdf from Scribd just let me know and I'll email it to you.