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

Thomas Moore

Friday, July 31, 2009

He got the traineeship!

Thanks everyone, for your prayers and best wishes for Slicer's test - the news has just come in, HE GOT THE TRAINEESHIP!!! \o/\o/
The employer was impressed with his appearance, his confidence, his well spoken manner, and his determination to follow his dream - and he passed the test with flying colours. I'm so proud of him. :-)
I've been battling another migraine the last couple of days and I'm afraid it's still lingering, so this blog post will be brief...however, I wanted to share my latest bunch of roses and carnations. For those who have followed my blog for a while you'll know that I adore roses, and before we moved here I always had cut roses in vases around my house to inspire me and to fill the visible space with beauty. I can't cut my own roses anymore but I was blessed to find these lovelies, mixed with pretty pink carnations, in town the other day. I have decided that each week I'll refresh the vase in my sewing room with new blooms so that the beauty of Creation is ever by my side, and hopefully in time I'll once again be growing my own roses.

A parcel arrived yesterday with a gift I've been promising myself since January - a fat quarter bundle! This is Nature's Chorus by April Cornell and I have loved it from the moment I set eyes upon it, but I have been a good girl and held back from purchasing it until after we moved.
I'm not a big purchaser of yardage, but I love fat quarter bundles because I make small projects mostly and I love the way all the colours compliment each other allowing me to mix and match a wide range of prints.
I have so many projects in mind for Nature's Chorus!!

Between being a casual boarding supervisor here at the school, and battling migraines, I have been able to finish another new design...only a few more and all will be revealed to you, but for now another sneak peek to share. :-)

Don't forget, tomorrow I will be sharing blocks 7 and 8 of Shabby Roses!!!
I hope you love them as much as the previous six. :-) The yardage requirements for the quilt top will also be given tomorrow - then you can go shopping!


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sneak peeks....and Di's challenge for August

Today has been a busy one so far and it's only lunchtime!
Almost 17yo son, Slicer, is sitting a test to gain a traineeship in IT and I have been praying non-stop that it comes through - this is his dream, and we all want out children to achieve their dreams - but we've also been rushing about town organising paperwork all morning and I hope he is relaxed enough right now to think. He is sitting the test right this minute!

The last few days I've been fine-tuning some new designs, Christmas themed stitcheries that have an air of fun and delight about them. Thought I'd share a couple of sneak peeks with you....

I have about 8 designs that I'm finishing, but it will be another week before I can show you the whole lot. :-)
Be patient, my friends...they will be worth it. I'll even share a free Christmas design with you that may come in handly for the challenge I've written about below....
Do you find that you rush about in November and December trying to make and finish all those lovely handmade presents and decorations you vowed you'd have done early this year? I know I do, so I've signed up at Di's blog for her Christmas in August Challenge.
The plan is to finish 3 Christmas items in August - now, that's not hard is it? Well.....let's just say I could use this challenge right now!! I *really* want to be prepared this year with gifts, no chasing my tail in the last weeks. ;-)

Now, I must away and prepare dinner early. Tonight I am on duty in the girl's dorm and won't be home to eat with my family. I think a nice chicken and pasta salad with honey mustard dressing will do them nicely...


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Only a few days till the Advent Swap closes!

Have you signed up for Jo and Fiona's Advent Swap yet? Originally the sign-ups were open until October but the date has changed to July 31st, so if you'd like to participate HURRY over and join in!


A few things....and then lets talk about encouragement.

Well, THANK YOU all for the wonderful ideas and comments made about the binding for Shabby Roses! It is wonderful to see something through new eyes, isn't it?
I've been playing with this quilt for so long now, and have had the fabrics bought and earmarked for months, waiting for me to finish all of the 12 embroidered blocks...and I think that I got so close to that I could not see the forest for the trees.

I love the idea a couple of ladies had for using the green stripe on the bias, but I doubt that I have enough of the fabric left to do that.
I had sort of played with the idea of a solid green binding originally then decided against it, but...now I'm looking at it with new eyes and I agree with one commenter that the quilt top does look a bit busy (which is why I wanted to use the softer creamy applique fabric I mentioned in yesterday's blog post), so a solid colour (green or pink) may be just right.

Also, I am surprised by the number who agree with Blossom on the paisley print...not because I don't agree, but because I worried that it would make the quilt too bright at the finish, and I kinda wanted something more subdued.

HOWEVER, if I wanted subdued I should not have used the fabrics I have! ;-) And I love the fabrics I've chosen! LOL!!

Hmmmmmmmmmm....well, I guess the thing to do is post it off to Cheryl and when it's quilted and returned to me THEN I will make the final binding decision. I appreciate so much the comments you have made, they have opened my eyes to new possibilities and given me options.

Next year I'm going to share another BOM with you, so perhaps I'll give that a more subdued colour scheme? We'll see. :-)
Have you been to Vikki's blog lately?
She has just given you all a gift! It's the sweetest embroidery block...I know you'll love it! I've downloaded my pattern and hope to make time to stitch it next week.
I also want to thank all the lovely bloggers who have give me awards over the last few months. I apologise for not acknowledging them sooner. The thing with awards is that we pass them on, and to be honest I love SO MANY blogs that I can never just single out a few. It completely turns my brain and heart inside out trying to choose!
There is talent overflowing in the crafting blog world, talent that at times leaves me holding my breath because I am so blown away by the genius before my eyes...so I am not going to choose 5 or 10 blogs, but ask you all to do something very simple.
If you stop at a blog that leaves you inspired or happy, or you're blown away at their talent, leave them a comment and tell them so. THAT is the way to encourage each other to keep going, to trust what you're doing, to continue to bring delight to others through the work of your hands.
That is such a simple gesture, but could really lift the spirit of a fellow crafter who may otherwise think she is just not good enough - and I know, I have been one of them! It is people like you, who stop by and chat with me through your comments that encouraged me to step out and design my own work.
So to you, I say {{{thank you}}}

Today I'll continue working on a new set of designs for Christmas....I'll share a sneak peek tonight perhaps.


Monday, July 27, 2009

Shabby Roses BOM - my finished quilt top!

I'm still adjusting to the heat of a tropical winter and my sewing room gets the afternoon sun quite severely, so I spent all morning stitching my Shabby Roses quilt top, ready to be posted off to Cheryl for quilting. The mornings are definitely going to be my machine stitching time, then I can sit in the air-conditioned living room of an afternoon and hand stitch. :-)
So, what do you think? Do you like it?

Now, the binding...I'd like some input. :-)
On my original quilt design I used the green stripe fabric for the binding, however, I've now decided it may be too much so I'm hedging towards the little rose and spot fabric from the applique as the binding.
I think the green stripe again will be overkill, whereas the more subdued and pretty applique print would look softer - what do you think? Blossom wants me to use the wild pink paisley print because she likes the brightness.

Might help if I show you the fabrics in detail. ;-)

I'll have the yardage for you tomorrow....it's almost all worked out! \o/


I have been blessed!!

Since I posted my Christmas in July Swap parcel to Dawn in the USA, I have been eagerly awaiting my own delivery of goodies....and today it arrived!!

Jacquie of Tallgrass Prairie Studio blessed my Aussie socks off!!!

Jacquie does not hand embroider BUT boy, can she machine embroider and sew!!! I am in awe of how clever she is with a sewing machine - every gift is SOOOOO beautiful, and I LOVE the vintage fabrics she chose to use. I am so overwhelmed at her kindness....and have a look why!

This gorgeous packed bag greeted me upon opening the parcel.......and in it I discovered...

...this beautiful fabric (that I already have a plan on how to use!) and a gorgeous sparkly hanger, "believe" - one of my favourite words to live by...

....a wallhanging that I wish you could touch! It's as beautiful to hold and feel as it is to look at! I adore all these fabrics!!!

Pot holders!! Aren't they exquisite??!!!! I have never owned a hand-made pot holder...and these are so nice I'm going to hang them in my kitchen to brighten my morning each day!

Decorations for the Christmas tree....how did she know I love simple ornaments, especially in these cream and country colours? Wow.

Can you believe this cute cushion is machine embroidered?! I cannot imagine how hard that would be. Jacquie is a very impressive machine artist, let me tell you!

This is so funky I just have to make it mine alone...no sharing this!!

And the bag...this is Jacquie's first ever bag! What a star you are, Jacquie! The fabric you used in the lining is one of my all-time favourites, Wee Play. :-) It's definitely going to hang pride of place this Christmas stocked to the brim with lovely goodies.

Jacquie, THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart....you have blessed me so very much.


Saturday, July 25, 2009

A beautiful Saturday....

This morning Blossom and I finally had some girl time together. She has has a wonderful first week at school and knowing that she has tennis practice on both Saturday and Sunday afternoons we decided to make some special time Saturday morning to spend alone.

Our little town is old. So pretty, and so old. Walking down the one main street gives you the feeling of having stepped back in time, to a slower and more relaxed era. We've lived all over Australia but never been anywhere quite like Charters Towers - we're pretty sure we're going to love it here.

Being lovers of all things Shabby Chic we were surprised to discover a shop in town that actually had an entire corner of their store dedicated to beautiful shabby chic items! We spent most of our shopping time in this one store and as we walked amongst the beautiful cream and rose gifts and homewares we vowed to come and buy one new item every payday. In a year we should have the house looking tres chic!

Today's purchases were a gorgeous teapot, a lovely white rose on one side...

...and pink on the other. I have been looking for the perfect tea pot for a years, and finally found it here in our new town. :-)

And what do you need with your tea pot?
Why, something to store your precious tea in! This cream ceramic canister has the sweetest butterfly on top, and a rose at the rim...the shop also had a matching biscuit barrel that I have on my 'to purchase' list.

I wanted to buy a gift for Blossom as well, so I sent her to browse and choose something special.
She surprised me with her choice as I had no idea she has a love of old bottles. This little wire carrier held two replica bottles from a bygone day and she quickly snatched them up with delight! She also noticed a wooden holder with 6 more bottles - I think they are on her own list of future purchases. :-)

And then she blessed me!
Isn't this gorgeous?! It is tin, with the sweetest angel painted on the front, and a large crystal sitting on top. Hubby will put a hanging pin in the wall of my sewing room so I can look over and see it each day. I love you, Blossom!!

And of course, what do you do when you purchase the 'perfect' tea pot?
Make tea of course!

Blossom brought her round table out to the living room and we sat and sipped Irish Breakfast Tea from my new pot, ate chocolate brownies, and shared some wonderful dark chocolates.

What a special morning we had!
This afternoon I finally finished the last of the essential curtains for the house. The ones below are Blossoms - she chose swirly white fabric, and they are rubber backed to keep the heat out (hopefully!).

And, now that my obligation to make the curtains has been fulfilled, I can finish my Shabby Roses BOM quilt top!!!! Yay!!!! \o/\o/
Before I go, I want to share with you the beautiful cross-stitch my eldest daughter, Karen, made for me to celebrate my 50th birthday this year. She has been working on this for 8 years, and I love it so much more because she never gave up even though she is not an avid crafter. She finally was able to give it to me a couple of weeks ago as we drove through her town on the way here. If you click on the photo you can see close up all the work she put into it. Thank you sweetheart!

I hope your weekend is as lovely as mine has begun.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Answers to some questions...and more baking!

The response to the embroidery I did, "My True Love", has been wonderful, but I must stress that this is NOT my own design.
It was in a copy of Australian Homespun magazine, Issue 25 (5.5), and the designer was The Herbal Angel.

Today I have been busy baking ... choc-chip cookies for Slicer, and Choc Fudge Brownies for Blossom and hubby.

Even though it's mid-winter, the daily temperature is now a very warm 29C (84 F) and the early mornings are the best time to get the daily baking done. Because we live in the grounds of the school Blossom and hubby are home each day for morning tea and lunch, and that inspires me to have something yummy prepared for them as they walk through the door.
Small gestures of love take only a little of our time, but the grateful smiles and hugs we receive in return are priceless treasures.


A few ladies have asked some questions, so I'll use this post to answer :

Betty asked what order I do my applique/stitching - Betty, I always applique first. I did this the opposite way for "My True Love" because I had traced the design to stitch as we drove to the new town and forgotten it was partly applique.

Alexis has asked about the fabric quantities for the finished Shabby Roses BOM quilt. I know I have not been much help at all thus far with this question - mostly because, until recently, I only had a vague idea how it would be finished. I will finish stitching the final block today (\o/\o/) and sew the quilt top over the weekend. Once that is done I promise I will give everyone the fabric requirement yardage when I share blocks 7 & 8 on August 1st.

I'd also like to share some other wonderful news about my beloved Shabby Roses BOM - I am having it professionally quilted, and the lovely Cheryl of Willowberry Designs will do it for me! I love her quilting and know she'll do a beautiful job on Shabby. Thanks Cheryl!

Okay girls...I must away and sew!!
Have a truly blessed day,

Thursday, July 23, 2009

My True Love, something new, and a sneak peek...

Remember the My True Love stitchery I was going to do on the drive across the country?
I did all the embroidery the day we drove through Gundegai, but needed to wait until now to add the applique pieces. I love how it has turned out!

In the mail yesterday I received Cheryl's "Bug-A-Licious" pattern pack - these are just too cute!! I have no idea what I am going to use the stitcheries in, but I have been drooling over these designs of hers for months and I think I will stitch them for pure pleasure!
The pattern pack is available through her Etsy Store - Willowberry Designs. :-)

....and here is a tiny sneak peek of one of the Shabby Roses blocks, due for your download on August 1st!
Did I mention I'm sharing TWO blocks next month?? A welcome to my new home gift. ;-)

If you are new to my Shabby Roses BOM, you can purchase Blocks 1, 2 & 3, through my Etsy Store - Elefantz.

Blocks 4, 5 & 6 are only available free until August 1st, then they will be available as a set through my Etsy Store.

NOTE: Blocks 4,5 & 6 are now available to purchase as a set!

Happy stitching!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Breakfast anyone?

Good morning ladies :-)

I've sent Bl0ssom and hubby off to school, so I thought I'd share breakfast with *you* today.
We have creamy Greek yoghurt with raspberries and passionfruit...shall I serve you a bowl?

While we're all eating, I'll show you some things my dear friends have blessed me with recently, shall I?

Bec from Oh Sew Busy (don't you LOVE her blog name!?) helped me out just before we moved here with some fabric I was hunting down. I really loved the festive, spotty blue and reds of Lila Tueller's Woodland Bloom and Bec had some that she wouldn't be using so she sent it off with this beautiful rust-red tonal fabric as a gift. Bless you Bec, I love them!

In the mail this week I also received a little gift all the way from the USA. The lovely Anna from Crafty Girls Workshop wanted to thank me for all the bloggers who entered her giveaway via Elefantz (so really, I need to be thanking all of YOU as well!). This cute little handmade notebook is the perfect size for me to carry in my bag to jot down all those ideas that visit my mind when I'm 'out and about'. Thanks so much, Anna! :-)

Then yesterday a surprise package arrived from my sweet friend, Ruth, who sent this gorgeous table runner as a housewarming gift......isn't it beautiful!? She also sent me this exquisite rose candle...much too pretty to light, I think, but I may have to so I can see the little flicker of gold amongst the tightly packed rose blooms. Thank you so much dear Ruth!!

Forgive me while I stray back to food...
In our last home the kitchen was a pokey little ships galley - well, that's what it felt like - and I did not find the culinary arts as exciting anymore. However, this house has a lovely big, airy and bright, kitchen! So I am enjoying playtime with food once again, much to the delight of my family.

Last night we had a lovely fresh fruit salad with a cheesecake cream...

...and simply scrummy Strawberry Coconut Slice for supper.

Remember the tutorial I gave you the other day for the bucket applique from Bucket of Roses?
I had decided not to replicate the roses for this one, but what to do instead...

... I added some of my Oopsie Daisies!

I love it, so cute, and in those lovely burgundy country hues the overall effect is very different to the original blues and yellows of the Country Roses. I think this may end up as a bag...

For those who purchase my Oopsie Daisies patterns on Etsy over the next 7 days I will add the pattern for this little embroidery as a bonus. :-)

Now, breakfast is finished - all but the refresher cup of coffee! - so I'll toddle off to make that before starting on something NEW at my design table...

Have a wonderful day (or evening if that's where you are),

Monday, July 20, 2009


We've been here 8 days now, and with all the unpacking and recovering at it's end we are settling down to a period of adjustment.

We are living on the campus of the boarding school my husband teaches at. This is the front of our house, no laundry as you can see...my washing machine faces the street. You can see the top of the carport - this is where our pet possum comes-a-calling for her nightly fruit snack. She leans over and knocks on the security door until we acknowledge her.

This is the back yard, with the school in the background - actually that is my husband's manual arts block you can see. It takes him about 30 seconds to walk from our back door to his office each morning, and Blossom's roll class is about 60 seconds away. ;-)

Just near our back fence is an old barbeque with a mirror left leaning in it. The birds literally fight over who gets to look at their plumage in that mirror! We can hear the squawking all day long.

They also like to sit on this old whiteboard the previous residents left behind, annoying Bob-the-dog no end as that is his favourite 'resting' spot. The birds are not afraid of us - they come and sit on the balcony rail at the back door just inches from us as though expecting us to offer them a treat. They will be waiting a long time, we're already feeding that possum. Speaking of which....

...Blossom has named her Magdeleine. Maggie for short. Here she is last night feasting on banana.

These are a few blocks I stitched in the car while my husband drove us here. I finally began to catch up on all those lovely BOMs, but I still have many more to do!

Gail Pan's Christmas Wish

Cheryl Goss's "Verandah Views"

I need to add the eyes to this "Breast of Friends" block, but isn't it beautiful?

I stitched many more blocks, but I can't show them to you.
You'll get to see them one by one as you complete my Shabby Roses BOM this year. ;-) Only one more block for me to stitch then I can sew the entire quilt top together and begin the quilting - I'm so excited about that!