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

Thomas Moore

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Only 3 sleeps left...

...well to be more specific, it's just 61 hours till we leave! Am I counting? Oh yes. ;-)

Today was a repeat of last night with my migraine powering along, holding me back from reading this...

crocheting this...

stitching this...

and playing this!

So I took THESE...

...and after a few hours I was able to go and buy the little blue Swarovski crystal I needed to finish this block. It was the smallest crystal I could buy in town but it was too big for Tweet Tweet's eye, so I added it to the heart. Something tells me this is going to end up as a bag. ;-)

It was a slow day today but I'm beginning to feel a bit better so perhaps after dinner I'll get to that stitching and maybe crochet a few rows. I might even manage to read another chapter of my book...or I might just get an early night and cross off another 8 hours of waiting. The Scrabble can wait till tomorrow.

Wherever you are I thank God for you.
You have all helped me get through these weeks, and I want you to know that really blesses me.


Because we'll be on the road for a couple of weeks, I'll be putting my ETSY store on vacation mode from July 2nd until July 16th.

If you were wanting to purchase any of my patterns during that time but had not gotten around to it yet, please do so in the next couple of days or you will need to wait until the store re-opens on July 16th.

Thanks for all the lovely care you're sending my way. My migraine is still with me so I'm going to hide myself back in that darkened room for a bit longer.


Monday, June 29, 2009

4 sleep left... but let's have a tutorial day for a change!

The days are passing a bit faster now (yay!!!), so rather than bore you with another run-down of the weather, the cleaning, and the dog, I thought I'd share something different. Something very simple, but fun.

Because we only have the one vehicle to carry 4 adult sized humans and 1 small dog across the country I had to be quite restrictive with what sewing items I could keep with me for entertainment during these three weeks. (the crochet cotton and crochet hook I bought yesterday are very small and will hardly be noticed, nor will the three books I bought or the brooches, and not even the three books my husband bought...but I digress)...

When the tendonitis in my wrist gives me grief I turn to wool felt for my stitching 'fix'. It's so very soft and lovely to play around with because you never know what you'll make (well, I don't) and you never have to worry about fraying or hems. With this in mind I packed a supply of lovely winter colours...

...and I decided to make a simple pin cushion, working from my bathroom. :-)

Firstly, you'll need to cut 2 x 3.5" mustard yellow squares of wool felt, and 2 x olive green squares of wool felt.

I do not have a sewing machine at the moment so everything is hand sewn.
Overlap a mustard yellow and an olive green square about 1/4 inch, and running stitch with 2 strands of DMC thread to join them together.

Now overlap these joined pieces 1/4 inch, and running stitch them together as well.

Draw some flowers on the smooth side of some Vliesofix, or any fusible tracing paper...

... and iron them rough side down onto the wrong side of some fabric that will match your felt.

Cut out the flowers, peel off the fused Vliesofix, and press the flowers randomly in place with a warm iron.

With running stitch in contrast colours, raw edge applique the flowers just inside the edges of the fabric, then running stitch another row around the outside of the flower on the felt. Add a button to the centre of each flower.

Cut a piece of floral fabric 6.5 " x 6.5 ", and lay the wrong side of it to the wrong side of the felted front piece. With 2 strands of DMC to match the colours of the felt squares, running stitch around most of the pincushion leaving a gap of about 1.5". Now fill the pincushion with fibrefill or any stuffing you prefer, and stitch the opening closed.

Using 2 strands of DMC cotton in a contrast colour , blanket stitch around the outside of the pincushion.

Add a nice button to the middle. I bought a lovely ceramic one that matched the colours beautifully!
I used 6 strands of DMC cotton in a contrast colour and tied it well at the back leaving a little cotton for effect.

And here it is, finished!
I call it Peg's Pincushion because it's a little extra gift to go with my swap partener Peg's surprise Paper Bag Swap item - which she will not be receiving until next week some time. You'll have to wait until I come back online mid-July to see what I made her. ;-)

I've been so inspired by Jane's "Breast of Friends" blocks that I started on block 1 last night. This is such a pretty block! For those of you overseas, this is part of a BOM published over a period of 9 months in Australian Homespun magazine. Every block so far has been lovely, but especially the embroidered ones.

I'm sorry, I must mention the weather after all! It is blowing a fierce gale here today and we're expecting it for the rest of the week. The rain was so heavy that our roads have flooded. This is perfect weather to stay home and stitch, but alas, these high winds also bring on my migraines, so tonight I am going to lay quietly and listen to an audio book on my mp3 player. I already miss my stitching, but not as much as I miss the children. (oh, I am SUCH a sook!)

Have fun sewing, and remember to rest a bit each day and reflect on the good things in your life.
Jenny xxx

PS: Did you notice I have shared Block 6 of my Shabby Roses BOM today? It's in the blog entry below. :-)

An early moving gift - Block 6 of Shabby Roses!!!

Good afternoon ladies!
With only a few days left before we leave here, and then a 2 week break when I won't be blogging due to no internet whilst relocating, I thought I'd give you Block 6 of my Shabby Roses BOM a couple of days early!
Unexpected presents are always the nicest ones, don't you think? :-)

~~~ May I present REST... ~~~

This is my personal favourite block so far. I hope you like it!
The sentiment REST is such an important one. We can become so busy in our day to day lives that taking time out to rest and refresh may elude us, so as you stitch this block I hope you let that little word take hold in your heart, and you make time each day to let go of the world and take a few minutes to quietly sit back and...rest.

You can download the pattern for REST HERE.

NOTE: 'Rest' is now available to purchase as part of the blocks 4,5 & 6 set in my ETSY store.

Remember, I keep the free blocks up for a limited time, so blocks 4, 5 and 6 will only be available free until August 1st - which is when I will be sharing block 7.
Blocks 1,2 & 3 are available for purchase from my Etsy store.


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Only 5 to go!

Somehow just saying "5 more sleeps" makes the time suddenly seem shorter...when it was 9 it was such a long way off, and even 6 seemed forever away...but 5 - yes, 5 is almost within reach of pure joy. ;-)

Of course, it may be 5 sleeps until we drive away but it's still 7 sleeps till we see the kids.
This morning they attended Mass at a church close to where they are staying and sent me a text after to say it was "awesome!". That pretty much made my day! :-)

Speaking of my day.
We visited the local laundromat so the washing is now up to date and we can wear clothes that don't pong...

...oh, and so can Bob-the-dog!

Sad news is the demise of my 16 year old hair dryer who, having lost various attachments over the years, recently refused to allow it's temperature or air speed to be adjusted, and would go on strike at the most inopportune moments. Today, finally, it tended its resignation and left my world....

...which meant my lovely STRAIGHT new hair-do from Wednesday can no longer be trained to lay straight. Curls insist on appearing!
I took this photo in the mirror - it needs to be cleaned, eh? Tomorrow I will be purchasing a new, invincible hair dryer. With attachments. That work. All the time.

From the stitching front, I have finally finished block 4 of Cheryl's "Verandah Views"...

...and begun Allie's new stitchery. She hasn't shared it yet (apart from a wee peek) so perhaps if you ask her nicely she'll give you a bigger sneak peek. Tell her I sent you...she can wag her finger at me for spilling the beans, but then she'll forgive me 'cause she's such a sweetheart!

Not stitching, but still handiwork - I began crocheting a dishcloth. I can barely crochet to save myself but I persevered to complete 2 rows while lunch was cooking. If I do 2 rows a day until we arrive at the new house I can use it to wash the dishes on July 14th. ;-) I am not quite up to Stephanie's standard yet, but I'm giving it a go. The colour is more lime green than you can see in this photo, btw.

And before I go, I wanted to show you these gorgeous rose brooches! I bought them yesterday at the craft store in town as I've had my eye on them for weeks. All the others had been sold when I went in yesterday, so I snatched these up immediately and scolded myself for waiting so long.
I have plans for the brown one already - an addition to one of the swaps I'm in - but the mauve one I have no idea how I'll use. Perhaps on a bag pattern I have floating around my mind?

How would you use these brooches?


Jackie's bundle of giveaway prizes!

Jackie is offering FOUR FANTASTIC PRIZES on her giveaway!!
Have you entered yet? It will be drawn on June 30th. :-)


Saturday, June 27, 2009

6 sleeps....

...till we leave here, and 8 until we see our babies. Okay, they are teenagers, not babies, but you know all children are babies to their mothers no matter how old they get! Even my almost 30yo daughter is my baby! Does that fact embarrass my children, I wonder??

Speaking of babies, I enjoyed a few today while I read some blogs. :-)

Hubby's car was loaded onto the car carrier yesterday evening, and is now on it's way to the new address. It's weird to think all our stuff and his car will be at the new house before us.

It's our habit to go for a long walk by the ocean every morning and night with the kids, but for the last week it's just been us and Bob-the-dog. Here is hubby texting a message to our son as we head off for the early evening walk, Bob patiently waiting for his exercise.

Along the way we found evidence of another home empty of it's babies. I'm glad my empty nest is not permanent yet!

This is the path we take home as our walk winds down...the row of pines on one side and the Great Southern Ocean on the other. We are already grieving the loss of this view.

It's been a sunny day, with a lot of cleaning of windows and skirting boards being done.
However, I still found time for some therapeutic stitching...

This is block 4 of Vicki's "On My Heart" BOM.
I have chosen to do all of Vicki's blocks in unusual fabrics, rather than cotton. The background for this block is raw silk, and I love it! All I have to do now is buy a Swarovski crystal on Monday (when the shops open again) for the bird's eye, as Blossom's crystal supplies are on the road with the rest of our belongings.
Here are the links to see how I stitched block 1, and block 2 . I like to have a crystal somewhere in the stitchery as a feature point, and I love the way they catch the light.
Block 3 is all ready to be stitched as well, but I haven't yet decided how I'll do the bee.

What are you stitching this weekend?



Did you like the free Country Roses "Bucket of Roses" I shared with you last week? Have you stitched it yet? How will you use it?

If you enjoyed that design, then perhaps you'll find these next two Country Roses designs of mine pretty as well!

May I present "Heart of Roses".....

...and "Basket of Blessings".

Both these new blocks are available to purchase as a set from my Etsy store from today. They are a PDF download, no postage costs and no waiting! :-) Of course, if you're on the other side of the world you'll need for me to wake up down here and email your purchase. It will never take longer than 24 hours - faster than any postman I've met. ;-)


Friday, June 26, 2009

Helen's giveaway!

Do you like Helen Stubbing's designs as much as me?? You do!? I knew we were alike. :-)

If you haven't already entered you'd best run not walk to Helen's blog and leave a comment so you can enter the draw for her newest BOM!

Mmmm, reminds me how much I like redwork.
I have an idea....


7 and counting...

The days are passing. I keep waiting for a natural rhythm to these days but it hasn't appeared and I imagine that's just the way it will stay until we're moved and settling into old and new routines.

Our backs are worse than ever, but God heard our cries and one of the deputy principals at hubby's school came to our rescue with some single bed mattresses, AND....a baby fridge!

Now we can buy milk and yogurt...oh, how I have missed my morning yogurt, and hubby his night-time milk!
The thing about change is that you usually learn something about yourself. At least in my life that's always been the way. ;-)
What I am learning during these weeks of change and separation is that I feel very insecure - insecure in not being surrounded by things that give me routine and a sense of permanency, and insecure in who I am when I'm not a full-time mother. Actually, the mother thing really threw me when I figured it out this morning.
I've homeschooled my two teenagers for going on 10 years, and in all that time I felt secure in my label of 'homeschooler'. It said exactly who and what I was, it explained what I did.
But now the homeschooling will be a closing chapter as my kids enter a different stage of learning that does not require 'me' to educate them. So, who am I now?

This prompted me to go on a journey of discovery and first stop today was a Bible study I can do over the next week or two, in preparation for the life I'll have in Charters Towers. Do you like the title? It sort of jumped off the shelf at me....

I'm thinking I'll call myself a textile designer from now on...but my heart will always be a mother's. :-)
My last ebay auction win to this address arrived in the mail today - 53 white glass buttons. I have NO idea what I'm going to use them for but they were an incredible bargain and I know I'll use them on something special when life normalises again.

Pam asked me how I transfer my designs to fabric, so I thought it best to show her.
I set up the iron in my bathroom this morning...

...and after designing a stitchery in my sketch book I taped the design to a window with masking tape. This allows the sunlight to highlight the lines for tracing.

Then I cut a piece of fabric to slightly larger than the stitchery (I usually allow 1.5 inches around the border extra), ironed it flat, and taped it across the top of the sketch with more masking tape.

Using a Micron 0.1 pigma pen in brown, I traced the design. After removing the masking tape I then iron a piece of Whisperweft across the back and I'm ready to sew!
(Pam, you DO realise that now I have ANOTHER block to add to my already burgeoning pile???) Ha ha ha! I am NOT complaining. ;-)

Terri from California is returning to stitching and has asked me what a BOM is. I'm answering here on my blog because I was once a newbie to stitching and it's wonderful to have explained to you the things many others know and take for granted as common knowledge, don't you think?

Terri, a BOM is a Block of the Month. It means that a designer releases a one block of a quilt per month, over a period of time until the quilt is completed. Some BOM's are for 6 months, some are for 12. Here are a list of a few BOM's available free from fellow designers this year :

Cheryl's "Verandah Views"
Vicki's "On My Heart"
Esther's "Red Delicious"
Gail's "Christmas Wish"
Bea's "Fairy Tales"
Lynette's "Noah's Ark"
My "Wonky Houses"
My "Shabby Roses"

....and there are more out there, but perhaps these are enough to whet your appetite for monthly designs?
Hubby and I enjoyed a simple lunch by the ocean today, but I see the rain clouds returning so I'd best close the doors and prepare to warm the house before nightfall.

Thanks for keeping me company. You're wonderful!