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

Thomas Moore

Monday, October 31, 2011

Life has settled. 
The house is in order; just some fine tuning needed in the new Elefantz room and the new office/prayer room.
The kids love their new homes.
Mr E is almost half way home as I write this, so he should be here in around 3 hours.
I'll share a little photo journal of the changes in the rooms over the past few days.
This used to be Blossom's room; the dust strewn empty one I showed you on Friday.
Please come inside...
This was Sam's room, but it's now the new office and prayer retreat. I still need to do things in here (like pretty curtains) etc...
And both rooms have air conditioning!!! \o/\o/ 
This is the first time, after living in the tropics for 2 1/2 years, that I have had air conditioning in my office and sewing space. I am so blessed. It has helped enormously with my menopausal hot flushes! 
During the evenings I've been continuing to stitch the remade version of "A Christmas Story". Four blocks finished, four to go...
Thanks you to Kris and Chris, who have offered to help me out with some Aviary fabric if I run out of my small stash. The quilt blocks are so pretty in Aviary - very different to my original version with the deep burgundies and winter greens; though it was very pretty too! 
It seems right though. Linda in the US now owns my original 'A Christmas Story', and the colours are perfect for her winter Christmas, whereas this lighter version is perfect for my summer Christmas in Australia! Isn't that great!?
The quilt I've made using some of my Give Thanks blocks is ready to have the binding sewn down...
It's just a simple square-in-a-square design, but looks quite pretty. 
I was asked if I'd share the new 'Give Thanks' block I made for the quilt, and I thought, "Yes!"...after all, you might like to make a quilt with the blocks too, and this new little Give Thanks is a happy addition.
You can download the block design HERE 
Now to get back to making a welcome home lunch for Mr E! Chicken pasta salad today - protein and carbs after his very long ride home to my waiting arms....

Friday, October 28, 2011

Remakes and quiet....

There is an eerie absence of noise in the room next to ours. Blossom is gone. 
Only the dust remains.
She brought friends last night to help fetch and carry, take apart and load up; removing all evidence that she lived and slept in the room next door.
She left with fierce hugs, exacting promises I will be round to her new house for a cuppa in the immediate future. There was heaviness of heart on my part, and I saw it on her own face, yet - she has grown out of her child-life and yearns for her adult life. 
It was evident by the things she left behind to discard or pass along to her nephews, that childhood days have severed their hold.
Mr E sent us separate texts from the mine, but all with the same message, "Good night everyone. I love you."
And so she begins the next chapter.
Tomorrow I'll do this all again with Sam.
 The thing about closing chapters and beginning new ones is that often there is a sticking point that simply won't let you move forward. As silly as it sounds, this has happened to me with the design process of the next 'big' Elefantz quilt design. 
It's in my head, and some on paper, yet I have not been able to get any further than that. A huge mental block just sits in my mind ignoring all attempts to upend it.
And then a memory of something Blossom said (on a number of occasions) this year.
"You have to remake 'Shabby Roses' and 'A Christmas Story', mum...you can't just NOT have them here! They are a part of you."
Wise words; and that is why I haven't been able to move on. As you know I've been in the process of remaking Shabby Roses for many, many months, and have now finished all the blocks - done in brighter Tilda fabrics - but I was putting off 'A Christmas Story' because I wanted to do a new Christmas themed quilt in shabby roses before this very Christmas. Ha! Not to be. 
My heart and mind, and my Blossom, insist I remake the original first, and so I have begun...
The colours are much softer this time round because I decided to use my very loved scraps of "Aviary". I am just praying I have enough of it to do the whole quilt. For sure there will be exact cutting with barely a thread to spare, but the Lord can multiply and I pray He allows me to get by on this one.
The piecing is now complete on a quilt version of my "Give Thanks" blocks. I've used eight of the mini-quilt designs, and added a new Give Thanks block to the mix.
The fabric line is "Sweet Broderie" - very pretty indeed.
It is only 28 hours until I send out the next issue of Elefantz HOME magazine. 
If you'd like to subscribe for this bumper 6-design Christmas Issue, you'll need to do so by midnight today (28th).
Subscribe HERE or by clicking the button on my left hand sidebar.
I have dust to remove, a floor to polish, and a cuppa with Blossom to look forward to.
Have an exceptional day, 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Farewells....and changes.

The last few days with Mr E home have been wonderful, and now I watch him pack to leave once more. 
"I'll take the sunscreen, ok??"
He lathers himself with it at work - he has to. This fierce northern Australia sun leaves our region with the highest rate of skin cancer in the world. Scary thought, so sunscreen is a must.
Five sleeps away, and he'll return to me, riding through our front gate once more. However, there will be something very different about our home when Mr E returns next week.
In Blossom's room are piles of new homewares....
...and this is because on Thursday (tomorrow!) she will be moving out of home to set up house with two of her girlfriends. 
Blossom is a pharmacy assistant now and loving her job. She does her online training certificates at night, and works all day behind the pharmacy counter. But the time has come when her wings are ready to spread and the open door of independent life beckons...
Before you panic, I must tell you that the house she is moving into with her friends is just one street away from mine, and just two streets away from her workplace. Bob-the-dog belongs to Blossom but he's staying here for the next month while she settles into independent life and all that will entail.
Also leaving is ds Sam. He is moving into a house with two mates on Saturday, just a 15 minute walk from us, and 5 minutes to his workplace.
We knew this was coming about a year ago, but he's slow to move once a big plan looms and has spent the last year making sure he had a grasp on what life as a single independent man entailed.
So you know what this means?
Most of the time I'll be home alone, with Sophie. 
They call Mr E and I "empty nesters"...and yet it wasn't that long ago we were packed into the family stationwagon and criss-crossing the vast expanses of Australia, homeschooling as we went, and seeing so much of what our beautiful country had to share.
Life is a series of growths and changes, farewells and welcome homes, challenges and triumphs. I see all of those things in this one week, and my prayer is that we all remember our roots, the relationships forged through good times and bad, and the value of HOME. 
HOME is not a house, it is a place in your heart where warmth spreads and welcomes you with unconditional love. May my children never forget HOME.
In between rides with Mr E during his few days home, I finished up the last of my Shabby Roses blocks re-make. Well, almost! Only a few letters of Shabby and all twelve are done. 
Tomorrow I might just do all the piecing for the remade quilt top, but first I have to finish piecing my second lot of "Give Thanks" blocks into a quilt...
I'm using Rosalie Quinlan's fabric range, "Sweet Broderie" and it's truly lovely. Can't wait to show you this all done! Looks like I'll have two finished quilts over the weekend - better keep the air conditioner on at all times with temps up around 36C again!
Of course, once both the kids move out, there will be two extra rooms in the house. As my sewing room and office are located at the front of the house in the enclosed verandah, I'll be moving them into Blossom's old room. You see, I do not have any air conditioning in my office/sewing area and living up here in the tropics makes it incredibly difficult for me to do much sewing during our very hot Sept-May days. Moving into her old room gives me an air-conditioner! I can sew in comfort, and that is so important.
Outside the day lilies are blooming fleetingly...
...the mangoes are heavy on the trees...
...and inside my Sophie takes shelter from the heat.
All is right in my world. Different, but still right.
God bless and big hugs,

Friday, October 21, 2011

Giveaway Winners, and my new Shabby Bag design!

Thank you to everyone who entered my giveaway! I wish I could give you all a prize, but I know you'll join me in congratulating the four lucky winners...

~Australian Winners~

A $50 voucher from Patchworks Plus to -
Ozstitcher (please email me with your address, as I have no way of contacting you)
"The Bag Making Bible" by Lisa Lam to -

~International Winners~

A $50 voucher from Fat Quarter Shop to -
"The Bag Making Bible" by Lisa Lam to -
 Sue from Cyprus (please email me with your address, as I have no way of contacting you)
Congratulations Ladies!!
Today I finished the final design for Issue 5 of Elefantz HOME magazine.

"The Shabby Rose Bag"
Applique and stitchery in pastel pinks, blues and greens...
The pretty ruffle on the pocket adds another feminine touch...
The perfect size for carrying about...
A special treat for self, or perhaps a gift?
I can't wait to take it shopping! 
Hope you like it too. 
My "Circles of Life" BOM has been very popular in the magazine, and just the other day I received photos from Catherine in France who had finished the first three blocks. They are beautiful!
If you've been stitching your blocks I'd love to see a photo or two when you finish!
Jeanette made my Shabby Roses Quilt and sent me a photo of it finished, quilted and bound. Gorgeous!
In my remake of the "Shabby Roses Quilt" I have completed 9 of the 12 blocks. It seems funny stitching it all over again, and especially in such different colours to my original. For the first few remade blocks I almost changed my mind and scrapped them, BUT, as I get closer to finishing I have begun to love the new colours.
The new fabrics are from Tilda, and much brighter than the soft pastels of version 1.
I have made one other change to the quilt. The original "Believe" block was this one...
This is the new "Believe" block...
Which one do you like best?
Mr E comes home on Sunday so I think I'll get my fingers working tomorrow and finish writing the magazine so I can spend all his time back home with him. 
I hope your weekend is a wonderful one!