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

Thomas Moore

Friday, June 29, 2012

The loss of a friend....

In my life I have been able to count my true friends on both hands. Apart from one friend I made in my teens, the others I did not meet until my 30's and 40's.
One of my dearest friends is Pam.
Pam is a prayer warrior, one of my three prayer circle friends. We met in 2000 through an email group when we began homeschooling. It wasn't (isn't) easy for me to make friends, but she persisted until I let go of my fears and took her hand in friendship. I know she has a habit of doing that to women. She reached out and showed the love and grace of Jesus, and captured our hearts.
During the night, my lovely friend passed away suddenly into the arms of our Saviour.
She would not have planned to meet Him this way...she is a loyal and loving wife, and the mother-of-all-mothers to four children aged 3 - 18. Having two little girls in her mid and late 40's was a joy for her that words cannot describe, and in every conversation we had she expressed that delight. Her four children were her world.
Most of our 13 year relationship has been conducted over the phone. We've only met face to face a handful of times, as we've never lived in the same city, and rarely have I been in the same state, but those times were filled with love and laughter, and hospitality as I have never before or since, experienced. 
Opening my heart to Pam, I knew there was safety. She cared so much about all people...and I never doubted her care for me. In another life I would have wanted her as my mother...
Pam, 2008.

In an earlier issue of my magazine I shared the "Prayer Circle" block...
I also explained who the three friends were that I'd stitched into the block.
Pam was one of them. 
We four - Pam, Elizabeth, Ruth and I have held each other in prayer through the brightest and the darkest of days...
Each one of these ladies is a gift to me. Sisters not by birth, but by the Lord's hand.
Pam was a woman so gentle, so forgiving, so gracious. She has left a gaping hole in our lives and hearts.

But we know where she is today. We know that she stands before her Saviour in all His glory, and we know that He welcomed her into His presence with, "Well done, my good and faithful servant".

As you can imagine, the lives of her girls (ages 4 and 6), and her sons (ages 16 and 18), and the life of her husband, Gordon, is now a train wreck of grief.
PLEASE pray for them. Please pray for Pam's mother, her sister, and her brother. 
PLEASE, hold them in prayer for a long time because the journey ahead will be long.

I will be gone from blogging for a bit.
I know you'll understand. 


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Where does Sophie sleep?

Our Princess Sophie is thoroughly enjoying the cooler, overcast weather at the moment. 
She's enjoying it so much that she's rarely off our bed!
Yesterday afternoon I was resting on the bed and stitching. I went out to the kitchen to make a cuppa for Mr E and I- this took me all of 5 minutes - and I come back to this...
She stole my spot!
I asked her to move, but she looks at me with those big green eyes...
...so I pick up my stitching and go sit in the loungeroom instead.
Last night, she made herself comfortable again, this time atop the quilts at the end of our bed.
Today, when I had my usual rest and stitching time, she had taken up residence on Mr E's side of the bed. He tried numerous times to wake her, but to no avail.
And she stayed there ALL day long.
Never have I known a more placid animal. No matter what we do she just curls herself up near us and sleeps. I thank God that Mr E made me cuddle 35 different kittens on the day we went looking for a cat. He wanted to be sure the one I chose would be gentle with a calm nature. Well, his plan worked. She's been with us 18 months now and I can't imagine life without her. Neither can he.
I'm working on some secret stitching for Australian Country Craft and Decorating magazine, but in between I play with Alicia's sampler. I am *loving* this so much! The first five letters are completed now...
I'm using some different stitches than the pattern suggests along the way. Alicia stitched her sampler with crewel wool, which is thicker that the two strands of Cosmo  and Tilda threads I've chosen to use, and so different stitches needed to be used sometimes to maintain the same lovely fullness her letters exhibit.
I'll be emailing Issue 13 of Elefantz HOME to my subscribers in about 12 hours from now. 
If you haven't received your email by Friday night please email me as a few get lost in cyberspace each month. I will resend as soon as I hear from you. :-)
Now to get back to that secret stitching...
Have a lovely evening!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Re-purposing again, and a long overdue quilt finish...

As I promised yesterday, today I am going to share another re-purposing idea - at last!
I have so many re-purposing ideas in my head but just not enough hours, days and weeks in my life to make them all. So, I am focusing on simple things this time, ok?

Well, this time we're using those toilet roll inserts again!
Let's face it, we never run out of them so why not find ways of recycling them?

Yesterday I made some binding for a quilt (more about that further on), and after cutting the right number of strips from my fabric I found I only had a 6" wide length left. I was pretty sure I'd never use the fabric again, so I cut two more 2 1/2" lengths and made the binding extra long.
After attaching the binding to my quilt, I had 120" of binding left over.
That is easily enough binding for a table runner! 
Then, it occurred to me that I have plenty of fabric remnants only 5 or 6 inches wide, fabrics that more than likely won't be used and will sit neglected in my scraps pile. 
So I began going over my stash remnants then and there, making more binding as I went along. I decided I would need at least 80" of binding for it to be worthwhile - this equates to a 5" width of fabric from selvedge to selvedge.
This is so quick and easy! And to have binding on hand for wallhangings, embroideries, quilts, runners...well, I am hooked.
Next, I needed some way to store them. Enter the humble toilet roll insert.
 Just wrap the binding lengths around the inserts, secure with a pin, and write how long your binding is.
Now to that quilt!
This is my version of the "Things We Love" quilt that Joy, Dawn, Vicki, Fee and I designed last year as The Gum Tree Designers.
We each have two embroidery blocks and the rest of the blocks are simple 'square in a square'.
After I finished my "Time to Rise" quilt last week, I still had some bamboo wadding left so I spent yesterday basting the quilt layers, machine quilting, and stitching down the binding on "Things We Love". Now I have another thing I love - this quilt! It's a reminder of some dear, dear friends that I will treasure always.
I cannot machine quilt to save myself, but I can do a really good wavy line between blocks. \o/
For those who are as challenged as me in this department, try some wavy lines. Simple, quick, and almost foolproof.
Here are some of the blocks.
JOY's 'home sweet home'...
VICKI's "Slippers'...
FEE's "Friends"...
DAWN's "Garden Arch"...
...and my "Happy Home"...

I stitched all the blocks last year, assembled the quilt top early this year, and now I have finished it. \o/
So last night I lay on the bed stitching Alicia Paulsen's Sampler, watching "Julie & Julia", under my friendship quilt.
I'm doing well with the sampler. Actually, it's addictive and I'm not being diligent enough to finish writing the magazine!
A and B all finished, and starting on C...
Are any of you stitching this??
Lastly, a huge ~thank you~ to everyone for voting in the Quilting Bloggers contest last week. 
My "Circles of Life" quilt won!!
In celebration I'm keeping the pattern at the reduced price of $8.95 for the PDF a bit longer. 
My prize (from Valerie at Pastimes Online in Canada) includes some Weeks Dye Works threads - and to be honest this was the thing that really pushed me into the decision to enter. I LOVE trying new threads, and have never used these. Can't wait till they arrive. :-)
Have a blessed week! 
I'm going to be a good girl now and make lunch for Mr E before I finish writing Elefantz HOME.
Then I can stitch....;-)