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

Thomas Moore

Friday, December 31, 2010

An apron swap, and a farewell....

My partner in Fee's Advent Swap was Carol from the wonderfully talented Narromine Quilters group
I've shown you previously the wonderful gifts Carol sent me through the days of Advent, but today I want to show you the *big* gift Carol made for me. I opened it on Christmas Eve night...
I was so blessed by Carol, and I am sure you can see why! Such pretty, perfectly stitched blocks, and all bordered with my favourite fabric range of all time - Rural Jardin. Carol - you know me so well!!
Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
These are some of the things I gave Carol over the 25 days of Advent...
...and this is the main gift I made her that she opened on Christmas Day. :-)
A pincushion, needlebook, and wrist cushion from this pattern by Janelle Wind.
I used some lovely Verna fabrics. 
Another bit of fun this Christmas was the apron swap between my sweet Gum Tree Designer sisters!
Joy, Fee, Dawn, Vicki, Judith, Vikki & I all had our names drawn out of a hat by Blossom for partners, and a deadline was set for the aprons to be made and posted. You saw the gorgeous apron Fee made me HERE, and now I can show you the apron I made for Joy!
Here she is modelling it for us...
We Gum Tree girls all have a nickname for each other, and I think most of you know Joy's. I stitched it on her pocket inside one of my Shabby Roses blocks. :-)
I love this photo of Joy - she really IS her name - JOY !
This swap was a special one for us girls as late this year Vikki left us in order to focus more on the needs of her family, and today Judith retires to embrace a new direction. 
Both ladies are sisters-of-our-hearts forever, and we miss their presence among us, but are blessed to call them friends always.
(Judith's farewell blog post on Gum Trees can be found HERE, and her own blog post HERE)
It is New Years Eve here, and the house is so peaceful and quiet, just some beautiful worship music in the background. 
May God's hand be upon you this coming year, and may His love and grace bless you each and every day!
Tomorrow is a new year, and with it comes the start of new things with Elefantz.
Drop by soon to see what they will be.
God bless, and hugs!!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Our anniversary...

~19 wonderful years~
December 28th, 1991, we became man and wife. 
I think you can see how happy I was that day - words still cannot express the joy I felt then, and the depth of love and devotion I still feel today for Mr E.
He is my hero, my rock, my true love.

He wrote this for our exchange of rings...
"I give you this ring as a token on my love. 
From this day forth rivers of love shall flow out from my heart and bind me to you forever"

He meant every word. 


Monday, December 27, 2010

Between the rains...

The mind picture of being housebound in a snow storm, huddled by a crackling fire and wrapped in time worn hand-me-down quilts, has always been held in quite a romantic frame to my 'only ever seen snow once in my life' self.
But housebound by rain, post-cyclone rain at that, just isn't conjuring 'warm and fuzzy' feelings in me at all. 
Water, water everywhere...mould, mould everywhere. :-( 
Oh for that snow storm right about now.
Last night, however, not a drop of rain was heard thundering outside our window. This morning the skies are still overcast and heavy with the promise of more unleashing later on today, but as I glanced over the clutter that has become my bird's eye view of late (imagine this dishevellment all through my house)...
...I decided to grab the camera and go about discovering what's been going on during this long tempest in my very own backyard.
In one of the mango trees I found fungii growing all along one thick and aging branch...
...and it seems the mulberry tree is happily fruiting for the second time this season...
Evidence of the arrival of cicadas are adorning the mulberry leaves like old and forgotten ornaments of Christmasses past...
An old hewn frangipani stump produces a bouquet of lustrous green as defly as a floral treat from a magicians sleeve...
Eight new banana trees are stretching tall...
Passionfruit, plump and inviting hang on the vines...
The huge tree than provides a canopy across the back yard, and shelters my car...
...is amass with yellow blooms. (If you know the name of this tree could you tell me please?)
New growth appears in the most surprising places...
...I have found 4 of these sprouting near water sources, so will buy some big pots and plant them out. 
The hibiscus that forms an arbor across the walkway from the front gate is heavily blooming and attracting many an interested insect...

...and my little garden-boy has become almost hidden by the profusion of greenery near the front steps.

My little hideaway place is too wet to sit and contemplate life, or to rest for a cup of tea...
...as the watery ground bears evidence to.
Alas, my time of quiet wandering must draw to a close.
There is more washing to hang under the house...

 ...and that clutter inside to corral into order.
I hear raindrops once more.
How lovely that God gave me an hour to walk in His garden before the rain returned.
Hugs and blessings,

Friday, December 24, 2010

A very wet Christmas Eve Show & Tell...

Even though it's Christmas Eve and you are probably busy with many things to do before the big day tomorrow, let's all grab a nice cup of coffee, tea, cocoa - whatever allows you to sit and relax, to catch your breath - and have a look at these pretty projects in this week's Show & Tell Friday.
I've just finished icing the Festive Cinnamon Scrolls...would you like one, or two, to nibble while we chat?
Rumi bought my 'Honey' stitchery set pattern a little while back so she could make it up for gifts, and she sent me a photo of one of the sets - isn't it beautiful!
I really love those colours and the fabric, Rumi - this set works so well with pretty pastels. :-)
Susan used her caring hands to make a heart block for a dear lady in NZ who has been diagnosed with cancer. She used the applique and rose stitchery part of my 'Love' block from the Shabby Roses quilt...
 Bless your kindness, Susan. Your block is truly lovely!
The  monsoon is happening and we, up here in the far north of Queensland, are in for more rain than we have had in decades - and it's going to be at least a week before it eases. A wet Christmas indeed, but the concern is that we have enough food supplies in case the roads are cut off (which by the sound of it is a given fact). Today I hit the supermarket once more and stocked up on dry goods, canned goods, and toilet paper. The important things. ;-)
Me E once again had to dig drainage ditches in the back yard so we could move the car to higher ground...
It's not too bad at the moment - the worst is yet to arrive. My prayers to all those North Queensland followers out in the thick of it! May you all be safe and dry, and your family, homes and livestock safe.
God's abundant blessings be upon all of you, wherever you are, as we celebrate the most amazing day in all of history - the birth of our precious Jesus!
I will leave you with a a special felt nativity scene that Blossom made from scraps when she was just 9...
Jenny & family

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Piecing, coffee, and gifties...

After my pre-dawn prayer and Bible time, the nicest way to start the day is to share a cappucino with Blossom in our cute reindeer Christmas mugs. She has a regular cappucino and I enjoy my de-caff soy-cino. 
It's been 3 months since I stopped having dairy and changed to soy, and after the first 6 weeks I actually discovered I like soy milk! It has *really* helped with the severity and frequency of my hot flushes, and my tummy doesn't cramp anymore. Yay!
Tomorrow will be food preparation day here.  I have a stuffed turkey breast to defrost overnight, and a trifle to make for Christmas lunch, and I need to make Apple Cinnamon Scrolls Christmas Eve night for Christmas Day breakfast. What do you have for breakfast Christmas Day? Is there a special tradition your family follows? 
This year I am giving the Scrolls a red iced topping (instead of their usual pink) and adding spearmint leaves for that festive touch. This is Blossom's absolute favourite baked item so the rest of us will need to grab a platefull before she wakes up or we'll be going without! :-)
Speaking of food, look what is in our bathtub!
Another of our banana trees was ready for plucking it's bunch and this is the only place big enough to store it as it ripens. Bananas anyone?
Yesterday I did some more work on the first of two new Shabby Roses quilt designs, but this time it wasn't embroidery. I spent hours making fiddly pinwheel blocks. I am a stitcher, not a piecer...but these things must be done. LOL!
More cutting and piecing awaits me today, but the end result will all be worth it! The pattern will be revealed in January - but I need to let you know this is not a free BOM. I think some people had that idea? I have something completely different for my 2011 freebie, but more about that closer to New Year. 
The Gum Tree Designers like to play swaps. This year we have swapped pincushion, and doilies, but for Christmas we decided to swap aprons! 
Fee's name was plucked out of the cup to make my apron, and it is GAWJUS!!! She used beautiful *Bliss* fabrics...
...and added this scrumtpious stitchery to the pocket....
...and finished it off with a pretty, heart embellished brooch!
Thanks Fee, I LOVE it so much!!!
I made Joy's apron, but totally forgot to take a photo!! She'll pop a photo on her blog soon. Once we all have our photos up I'll do a fashion parade of them on our Gum Tree Designers blog.
My Gum Tree Designer sisters also like to bless each other with something hand-made at Christmas. Let me show you some of the sweet things Vicki, Dawn, Judith, Fee, and Joy made for me this Christmas...
....and this is what I made them...
 ...diaries for F,D, J, V & V, but a pincushion/needlecase for Judith as she'll be on the road most of next year. :-)
I had better get back to that piecing if I want the quilt finished by January. 
Maybe one more cappucino first, though?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

It's almost Christmas!

Not long now, just 3 sleeps. 
Are you excited? I hope so.
The commercialism of Christmas has taken away much of the simple joy of this time of the year. When I was growing up it was the most exciting time of the year. I only received gifts twice a year - my birthday and Christmas - and I imagine many of you experienced the same? Only one birthday gift, but I did receive a few little Christmas gifts and and one 'big' gift - a doll more times than not. :-)
It must have been so much better for our parents and grandparents back then - *a* gift...not gifts and gifts and gifts etc. 
Our family put a lid on the excesses this year and we chose to only buy each other one special gift. Next year we're going to do a home-made/hand-made theme...nice and simple, with the emphasis on love and appreciation. :-)
I did make a lot of handmade gifts this year for friends, and knowing how much work goes into a handmade gift gives me such appreciation for those who give of their time and talent to make items for me. You lnow who you are, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart! {{{{{{{{{{hugs}}}}}}}}}}
This week I have been making a tablecloth for my daughter, Kezzie. Her and her family live all the way down in Melbourne, and I miss them so very much. We are praying that next year we will be together for Christmas (we haven't since 2000) and that they will be living up here near us by then. 
Kezzie loves to cook, and she has some beautiful mealtime traditions that she is teaching her two sons. The family meal table, and giving thanks to God for the bounty she serves is very important to her, so I made this tablecloth to bless their table...
It has a heavy cotton backing on it to withstand many washes and two energetic young boys. :-)
She loves bright colours so I think this 'Breeze' fabric is perfect. 
I have opened more thoughtful Advent swap gifts from Carol...
I am feeling quite spoiled, Carol! Thank you so very much for this bounty!!
In my downtime I picked up a copy of this UK magazine because I noticed the Tilda fabric on the dolls and I love all things Tilda! It's a fabulous read, and full of very pretty projects - some I will make as gifts for next year. It even had fabrics, threads, and notions to make some of the projects! 
This afternoon it's back to the cutting board. Remember this sneak peek? 
I'm finally free to start piecing it into a new Shabby Roses quilt...that will be two new Shabby quilts in 2011! Can't wait to show them to you!