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

Thomas Moore

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Let's look at your birds!

Today I can show you some of fabulous 'birds in cages' that participants in the Birdcage Weekend Sew-In have made!
Sue allowed her birds out of their cages for a while to enjoy a birdbath...
Amanda made her birds from polymer clay and put them inside tiny cages!
Katrin also bought her cage and filled it with sweet handmade birds...
Brigitte has had her birdcage for a while but was finally able to fill it when she made these pretty birds...
Fiona used felted wool for her birds!
Judith hasn't yet found a birdcage she likes for her bird, but what a pretty bird it is! I think this 'posh' bird may need quite a fancy home, don't you?
You have another week to email me (or Wendy) the photos of your birds in birdcages - Thursday 7th October is the last day. I have a beautiful new design (see photos below) that I will email to all those who participated, but only if you send me your photos before next Thursday.
This is my new 'Lovebirds' wallhanging. I'm sure you'll enjoy stitching this!
Wendy and I will email the patterns out to all those entitled on Friday 8th October.
If you haven't participated in the Birdcage Sew-In, but would still like this pattern you can purchase it for
the special price of $3 HERE in my Etsy Shop until Friday October 8th.
I'm moving forward in the world of the internet (thanks for the push, Fee!) , and now have my own web page! You can find my blog at the NEW web address - www.elefantz.com
But do not worry if you forget it, you can still find me through this blog address and it will simply redirect you to my new web page.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

CAFETIERE! My newest Shabby Roses design!

It's taken me a while to finish writing the pattern for this gorgeous new Shabby Roses set but at last I can reveal all!
 May I present...

This is a very sweet 4-piece set, comprising of a French Press cover with embroidered button...
...a pretty doily with ruffled edging...
...a sweet bag for carrying your special mug to craft group or guild...
...and to finish the set, a cute little signature you loop around a mug handle to identify it as yours!
 You can purchase the pdf pattern set today by clicking on either of the Buy Now buttons below!
For Australians, $6.95 AUD -

For Overseas purchases, $6.95 USD -

I' will email your pattern within 12 hours of purchase!
Thank you to everyone who responded to my question about the translation of 'ma tasse de cafe'!
The first correct answer was from Lone in Denmark. I'll be emailing the pattern to you tonight, Lone!

I hope you like this new Shabby Roses set! The fabrics I chose for my set are gorgeous, but I can't wait to see what others will use to make this set their very own. :-)

PS: I'll start sharing some of your Birdcage Weekend Sew-In photos tomorrow! For everyone who sends Wendy or myself a photo of their handmade 'birds in a birdcage' I have a gift!!

Monday, September 27, 2010

What a day!! Birdcage Sew-In Sunday with my friend Wendy!

My two days away in Townsville were great. Non-stop talking with my friend Elizabeth, a wonderful meal out on Friday night, then a special Saturday down by the beach sitting watching the waves, drinking Soyaccinos (decaff!) and more talking before our teary goodbyes at the airport and her flight home. By the time I got home to Charters Towers in was dinner time and I was exhausted, but so overtired that I couldn't get to sleep until midnight.
Six hours later I woke, excited about another fun filled day! Wendy was driving in from Ayr and we could play all day with our birdcages for the Birdcage Weekend Sew-in! \o/\o/
If you had crept by and put your ear to the sewing room you would never have believed this was the first time we'd met in person! It was like spending the day with a friend you've had for years.
Look at this beautiful 'friends' runner she made me - it's so pretty, and made with perfect stitches!
Blossom came in to say 'hello' and apart from taking a phone call she never left us - which was wonderful because we soon discovered that Wendy's birdcage was going to need more than one pair of hands!
Blossom and Wendy laughed and laughed as they manipulated the wires....
 ...but what a gorgeous cage this was turning out to be!
 I *think* we may have talked so much that the birdcage-making- process took a little longer than it should have?? LOL!!
I started mine with a blank paint-by-numbers canvas (the only one I could find in town the right size), and fused stiff interfacing to the top (great idea, Wendy!) to cover the pattern that had been pre-printed onto the canvas...
Then I began making the background to my *altered birdcage* design. Fabrics were chosen for green grass, blue sky...
..and some simple running stitch added.
Next I fused some fabric flowers in place and added mother-of-pearl buttons to the centre, before allowing Mr E to drill holes into the back of the canvas frame to hold the birdcage bars...
I needed to wrap and secure natural homespun strips around the bars, so I had Wendy teach me how to use the Glue Gun. I have owned one for two years and never used it! Wendy's first lesson was, "Jenny, don't burn yourself!". She expounded on this lesson many times during the day with evidence from her own fingers...
Poor Wendy!! She had a number of burnie finger bits by the time she left.
 Too soon our day was drawing to a close and Wendy had to leave. Her birdcage was almost 1/2 finished and I'm sure by the end of the week you'll be gasping at how beautiful it looks all complete and displaying those precious birds!
 Thanks for a wonderful day, Wendy!! She is the sweetest lady you'd ever chance to meet.
I cannot wait until we get to sew together again!
After Wendy left I continued playing with my glue gun and wrapping the birdcage wires, until it was time to add my birds.
Here it is all completed and hanging next to Mr E's desk in the dining room!
Wendy and I loved making our birds and cages! Did you? 
Blossom was so excited helping Wendy with hers that she has decided to make her own birdcage this week, and she's asked that I make her birds while she works on the cage, so we may have another finish to show you before long. 
Hop over to Wendy's blog HERE for her post about our fun day together.

Please leave comments here and on Wendy's blog to let us know you've finished your own Birdcage Weekend Sew-In, and include your blog address so we can see photos and share them on our blogs during the week. 
If you don't have a blog simply email us your photos! We cant wait to see YOUR birdcages filled with wonderful birds!!
(click on my profile link in the left hand side bar and it will take you to my email)
 Have a wonderful week!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I've gone bananas!!!

We put the huge hand of bananas in our bathtub to ripen. A week went past and they were still green, but within the last three days they ALL ripened and I cannot tell you how delicious these Lady Fingers bananas are!!
We ended up with over a hundred ripe bananas, so after giving some away and eating some, I made banana smoothies with blueberries for breakfast...
 ...before cooking up a veritable feast of sweetness in the kitchen all morning!
I made Banana Parkinson (it's really called Banana Parkin, but my maiden name is Parkinson so that's what Blossom calls it!) from a cookbook I've had for years and only ever cook this one recipe from (weird, I know!)...
...as well as a double batch of banana choc-chip muffins, and a banana chocolate cake!
Most of the muffins are in the freezer now, along with 20 remaining bananas...
Frozen bananas are wonderful for smoothies in summer. I hope we can get through them before Lily Rose decides to pull down the other banana tree. She's a naughty girl...pretty, but naughty!
Gifts are lovely aren't they? Especially when made with love. Louise in Sweden sent me this beautiful stitched card...
....thank you, Louise! :-)
Today I made a heart for my friend, Elizabeth, whom I will be meeting up with tomorrow for our two-days-away-holiday. She's flying in to Townsville at lunchtime, and flies out just 24 hours later. We'll need to rest our voices after a 24 hour talk-a-thon, won't we!? 
I've made three birds for the Sew-In with Wendy on Sunday...
...a little felt zippered case for this month's Challenge...
...and I have finished all the pieces in my new design set, Cafetiere
There are 4 pieces to this set, but I haven't written the patterns yet, so you'll have to wait a little bit longer to see them all. In the meantime enjoy the little sneak peek, and if you are the first to correctly tell me what 'ma tasse de cafe' means in English I will email you the pattern as a gift as soon as it's ready!

Before I say 'ta ta' and head off on my mini-holiday, I'll leave you with this photo...
It has something to do with my Birdcage Weekend Sew-In. I wonder if you can work out what I'm going to do with it?

(early!) 11th Friday Show and Tell!

I apologise for having this Friday's Show and Tell a day early, but I'm going away for two days from tomorrow morning and won'e be back till Saturday night - then I have Wendy driving all the way over from Ayr on Sunday for the Weekend Birdcage Sew-In! What a big few days I have ahead of me! My two days away will be spent with a very dear homeschooling friend of ten years. She is flying up to Townsville and I'll drive in to meet her there. We have a motel room near the water where we can relax and catch up on life, eat and drink to the sound of the ocean, or wander through the parklands by the sea and sup at one of the many bistros nearby. 
Meanwhile Mr E and Blossom will hold down the fort at home! They have a large bag of lollies, a new Xbox adevnture game to share, and a list of chores that may or may not be done when I get home (but they're wonderful, so I'm sure they'll do them). 
Now, on to Show and Tell!
Joanna made a gorgeous wristlet for the Zipper-me-up Challenge...
...and Stephanie joined in the challenge with this sweet zippered pouch!
I've shown you Fiona's ~Bouquet~ quilt top previously, but it's all quilted now, hanging beautifully on her wall!
How are you going with your Daisy-do blocks? Delores has finished all three so far!

Lynette asked how to send me photos. Just click on my profile in the left hand side bar and that will take you to my email link. :-)

I might be back before I go with some photos of cute things...like birds and hearts. 
If you have a minute, go and visit my American friend, Michelle, HERE. She had a little blog post about me and it was so sweet!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A stuffed bird, and the last BOM block for A Christmas Story quilt!

Yesterday my hands were a bit sore so I did the right thing and stayed away from my stitching. To fill me need for all things crafty I went for a wander through the local newsagents and found this issue of Quilt Mania...
It's a French quilting and stitching magazine that I love! We get it a couple of months after its European publication date in Australia so my French friends would already be enjoying the next issue by now. However, I am always excited to see it, regardless of how old the issue is. 
Inside this issue there are a lot of wonderful quilts, but the projects that I really want to make are these...
Isn't this young lady the sweetest thing!? And those houses are to store your sewing bibs and bobs inside. The roof hinges open! I'm thinking that I'll make my young lady in Tilda fabrics, what do you think?
There is also a project in this issue by Australia's own Helen Stubbings - a lovely applique wallhanging!
Whilst resting my hands yesterday I made time for a haircut. It's been about 6 months now since I went from long hair to short, and to be honest I really miss my long hair. But it's so very hot living here, and while I'm still going through 'the change' (as my grandmother used to call it) and those hot flushes, I thought it best to persevere with the short hair until they pass for good.
Have you tried to take a photo of yourself and keep a straight face?? I can't.
Today the hands are much better, so I finally finished my first bird for the Weekend Birdcage Sew-In...
I used mother-of-pearl buttons to secure the wings, pretty rose glass seed beads for the eyes...
...and a piece of vintage silk ribbon around the tail. 
This afternoon I'll finish some more. They're so pretty, and I can see myself making them in future as gifts, perhaps with a lavender filling. 
The last block and quilt assembly instructions for my Shabby Roses 'A Christmas Story' quilt are now available in my Etsy Shop HERE for those who are doing it as a 5 month BOM. 
Theresa has now finished her quilt top and it's just gorgeous!
She used all fabrics from her stash, and they worked beautifully!
If you'd like to make this quilt yourself you'll find the pattern HERE.

Now, off to make more birds...you too?
Have a lovely day!