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

Thomas Moore

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Last call for boarding!

So, whose is this??

Here's a few hints...
She is 18.
She lives with Mr E and I.
She owns Bob-the-dog.
Sometimes she designs and stitches.
Yes, it belongs to our Blossom!!

 And where is she off to?
A hint from my fabric stash...

That's right! 
LONDON!! Well, Derby to be exact!

She flies out on Thursday morning, all by herself. Thankfully there's just one stopover, and she'll be met by friends at Heathrow 30 hours after she leaves Australia.
She's all packed, and checking her list to make sure she hasn't forgotten anything. A last minute request at 9pm last night was for me to make her a pouch for her passport, so I did what any good mother pumped up on coffee and blueberry danish would do. I rummaged through every fat quarter in my sewing room until I found 'THE one' I liked best!
Cute, huh? :-)
While she is off enjoying the Derby countryside for two weeks I'll have full custody of Bob-the-dog, so today I decided to spoil him with a good grooming. How about some before and after shots?

And (drum roll please) ta da!! AFTER...
Princess Sophie didn't recognise him when we got home from the dog salon, and her back arched from across the room!
I had to carry her over and have them both do the sniff thing for a few minutes. It wasn't long before she realised it was her little pal Bob (she is bigger than him) and they posed together for a beautiful pic with Bloss.
Gonna miss my girl while she's away.
Guess I'll have to comfort myself with stitching.
Please pray prayers of safety for her flights and time away?
Back to that blueberry danish...

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Italian Festival 2012, and some stitching of course...

This weekend Mr E and I rode in a large procession of motor bikes from Townsville to Forrest Beach; down through Halifax and across to Ashton; and eventually making a grand entrance at the Italian Festival in Ingham!
The Italian bikes rode through the gates first, and the rest of us rode in behind them. 
I love riding in a large group, especially when you don't know the area well and you have locals riding with you. The Ingham riders took us down some wonderfully winding country roads where we rode through fields and fields of sugar cane. The strong aroma of molasses filled the air as it is now the crushing season. 
Once at the Festival the first thing Mr E and I did was go look for canoli! The only time I have canoli is when we visit the Festival, so I indulge my tastebuds. 
We got wonderful cappuccinos from Tony (who pulls his mobile coffee van around behind his trike) and watch the pizza eating competition - which was won by an Israeli tourist who beat all the young Italian lads!
(Click on the photos to enlarge)
 The Festival is held in the Tyto Wetlands, which is home to over 120 different species of birds. 
The sugar cane train runs right through as well. 
It was a fantastic ride, and a good day out meeting new people who also share a love of motor bikes. 
I intend to teach myself to make canoli - once a year isn't good enough. And, seeing as Mr E is of Italian descent, it would be nice to make him an Italian sweet.
I'm enjoying watching the swimming heats at the Olympics while I stitch some pretty things...
...as well as choosing what thread colours to use when I stitch "Betsy's Closet in Stitches". The sashing around the blocks are comprised of 2.5" squares, perfect for using leftover strips from a jelly roll! I have most of a Ruby jelly roll so I think I'll use that and choose thread colours to match.
Cindy in NC left a comment on THIS blog post saying she wished someone would host a Stitch-a-Long to make "Betsy's Closet in Stitches"
I'd like that too, and if I wasn't so busy I'd do it myself...actually I might consider it if someone wanted to co-host?? 
What do you think? Would you be interested? 
Time now to wind down for the night.
Something very special is about to happen to one of our children this week, and life has been quite hectic with the plans afoot. 
I'll tell you more tomorrow. Mmmm....any guesses?

Saturday, July 28, 2012

A WONKY HOUSES encore...

In early 2009 I shared free on this blog my very first original design, a 4 part BOM called Wonky Houses.
I know there are some of you reading who remember this quirky design. 
My Pop used to call anything slightly off centre a 'wonky', and I designed each house in this wall hanging in honour of him.
To this day, WONKY HOUSES holds a special place in my heart. It now lives with my daughter Kezzie, and I think I'm missing it so another one should be stitched for me don't you think? :-)

 If you love this design too, would you consider voting for it? You can place your vote HERE. I know it's silly, but I'd kinda like to win this for Pop. He was more than a grandfather to me because he raised me as his daughter, and I wasn't even his blood relation. When he married my nana she'd already had three children grown up so he never experienced raising his own offspring. 
My mum died when I was three, so I was sent to live with Nana and Pop, and let me tell you that no child was loved more than I by my new 'parents'. Nana passed away in 1982, and Pop in '84 from a broken heart. He just didn't want to live another day without her.
So Pop, this one's for you.xxx
You know, if I'm really going to honour my sweet Pop, then I think I should share WONKY HOUSES with you one more time.
Until Saturday the 4th August you can download for free the entire pattern for the four blocks and quilt assembly HERE.
The week is over, but the pattern can still be purchased HERE in my shop.

God bless each and every one of you!

Friday, July 27, 2012

A week winds down and I breathe...

The week before Elefantz HOME publishing day is always tiring - both mentally and physically. As a one-woman show I have to spread myself thin, but once that last word is typed, and the magazine has been emailed to my faithful proof-reading crew, I sit back in my chair and breathe long and deep. 
Satisfaction. Relief. 
That is what I feel today because my work is done for another month.
I've finished the Angel block from my Christmas Story quilt again. This is the third time I've stitched the quilt, but this time I am doing step by step photos for one block a month in my magazine.
This will spread over the next eight issues (starting this coming issue July 29th). I started with 'Angel' because it's my favourite...
Then background this time is handkerchief linen - I am so hooked on hanky linen!! It's beautiful to embroider on. 
I have this idea for making some different Angel blocks and putting them all into one quilt top...I'll keep you posted on that. The picture I'm forming in my mind is quite enchanting.
Of course, once an issue is done I am already planning the next!
I'm auditioning some bright colours at the moment, deciding whether this project will make my final choice of patterns for next month...
 Blossom has run off with this declaring it MUST appear in the magazine- she's even suggested I have a "Blossom's Choice" each issue! Hmmm....what do you think of that??
Some lovely mail arrived this week. Angela made me the sweetest card as a thank you for last Friday's sewing day with Wendy...
Angela had no idea that I love little dresses!! She would have been surprised to see what I had just bought.
In another parcel that same day I received this gorgeous pattern of Brenda Riddle's that I'd ordered a few weeks ago. I had been patiently stalking my postie for at least the last seven days as I became anxious about it's late arrival!
"Betsy's Closet In Stitches"
Originally Bren designed this quilt in applique, but she's recently re-designed it as a stitchery quilt - and I am so glad she did! This will be my 'chill-out' project between stitching my own designs. 
You'll find the pattern on Bren's site HERE.
I've also just printed out this Sampler from Helen of Bustle & Sew (yes, I do love samplers!) to slowly stitch during my down time. It's so cute!
You will find this in Helen's shop HERE (or if you subscribe to her e-zine it's in Issue 16 May 2012)
So tell me, what do you like to stitch when you need to relax?
Have a wonderful weekend. 
Mine will be full with stitching project preparations, hopefully a Greek lunch with Mr E on Saturday, a ride up to the Ingham Italian Festival on Sunday (for canoli!) and of course, cooking, washing, ironing...
I choose to focus on the positives. ;-)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

GIVEAWAY!! Win a kit to make one of my designs!!

Because I am very close to having 1900 followers, and because I have written over 800 blog posts on this blog (can you believe one little woman could talk so much!!??) I want to celebrate with a really good giveaway!!

How many times can you enter?

1st entry = you leave one comment on my blog.

2nd entry = you become a follower and leave another comment on my blog, or if you are already a follower, leave a comment telling me this.

 3rd entry = Like my Jenny of Elefantz Facebook page HERE. Then come back and leave a comment to tell me.

4th entry = share the news on your blog, FB page, Twitter, Pinterest, or favourite social media! Come back and leave a comment telling me.


1st Prize...

The pattern and kit to make my "Daring Dresden" cushion cover!!

The kit includes the paper pattern, all fabrics, hanky linen, gingham bias, buttons, threads, AND I have already made and added in the 20 blue Dresden blades you will need to complete the front block!!
(Yes, I will post worldwide!)

2nd Prize

Six months subscription to my Elefantz HOME Magazine!

3rd Prize

3 month subscription to my Elefantz HOME Magazine!

BONUS Prize!!
If someone enters this giveaway from your recommendation via your blog, FB, Twitter , Pinterest, or any other way, and they mention your name in their comment, then you will win a 6 month subscription to my magazine if I draw their name as one of the three winners. OK!?

You have 11 days to enter!
Giveaway closes on 5th August, and the winners will be announced on the 6th!
PLEASE leave a valid email address in your comment if you do not have a blog.

You must leave all your comments on this one blog post. 

Good luck!!

Monday, July 23, 2012

In pictures...

Sunday morning ride with the Honda ST Owners Club to Cardwell by the sea...
Sunday night pattern printing and preparing kits...
...and sketching Block 8 of Promises & Borders.
Monday morning I woke with a high fever, not nice, so spending the day stitching Block 8...
...soothing myself with Jane Austen...
...blueberry ice cream and Mollie Makes...
...and of course, roses.
What soothes you when you're feeling poorly?


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Friends - both old and new...

People are often surprised when I tell them I am naturally shy. 
They think from how I write that I'm really outgoing - and once I get to know you I am quite relaxed and laugh (a lot) - but at first, I'm a shy thing. The fact that we have moved 18 times in 21 years probably has a lot to do with it, but I think being an only child raised by elderly grandparents could also be a contributing factor. I spent my growing up years quite removed from kids my age, and yet I was very content with my own company. Still am, actually.
It's because I am shy (and personally content) that I don't often seek out friendships when we move to a new town, and I rarely spend time away from my home as I homeschooled the two youngest children for 11 years, and have run my own business from home since 2009. 
My home is my place of security. My home is me in my natural habitat.
But I want to be brave and dip my toe in the waters of making 'real-life, people-you-can-hug-and-drink-coffee-with-friends'. 
I invited my good friend Wendy to drive up from her home 90 klms away and spend the day stitching with me on Friday. You see, I had invited someone else too. Someone I had never met! And because I am so relaxed with Wendy, I knew she would help me relax quickly. 
On Friday morning Blossom woke with a fever and stayed home from work, so my stitching group suddenly grew to four, and all my nerves vanished.
 (note to self: God is good ALL the time)
Inspired by Master Chef the previous night, I baked Orange & Blueberry muffins with an Orange & Vanilla syrup, and set out my favourite tea cups and plates...
Blossom got out a cross-stitch she'd started four years ago and never finished...
...and I prepared my own project to stitch.
Just after 10 a car pulled up, and the door to making a new friend opened. 
Not long after this Wendy arrived. And so our stitching day began!
Please meet our new friend, Angela. 
Wendy, me, and Angela
 Blossom was our photographer.
Actually, two hours into our day together, Wendy and Angela realised they had met years before and had been wanting to catch up ever since! Small world? Honestly, we laughed so hard all day that my shoulder and neck are still aching and I won't need to do any tummy exercises for a week!
Angela is a sweetheart, and even brought a freshly baked gluten free Banana Cake, whose leftovers Mr E happily enjoyed later that night. Thanks Angela. :-)
 I don't think we got as much stitching done as we'd planned, but I'm sure that's testimony to how much fun we had together. 
A good day. A new friend. And plans to do it again soon.
If you're shy like me, I encourage you to take the plunge and reach out to a new friend. It could be wonderful. :-)
I am so excited to be able to offer KITS for some of my new patterns! 
I get lots of emails from blog readers asking if I sell kits for my designs, and I thought it was probably about time I did some. 
In my shop HERE I have a limited number of kits available for making the...
"Daring Dresden" cushion cover ~ $27 AUD
...and the "HAPPY" Table Runner ~ $29 AUD
Both kits contain all the fabrics, trims and threads to make the project, plus a paper pattern. 
Both kits are free post throughout Australia, or $12 postage overseas.
You can visit My Elefantz Shop HERE.
All the info about Elefantz HOME issue 14 can be found HERE on the magazine page. You'll also see what my lovely guest designer for this issue, Vicki Tucek, has made for you! She's a very talented designer whose quilts are amazing!! Visit her blog HERE for some inspiration.

For the next 9 issues of the magazine I will also be sharing one block per month from my shabby roses "A Christmas Story" quilt. This is in addition to my three new Elefantz designs each month.
The first block we'll make is 'angel', and I will show you step by step how to copy my decorative applique technique...
I've already prepared my block. This is the third time I've made this quilt, and I still love it!
Time to get back to pattern writing...

Ho hum...the hard part about being a designer. ;-)
Have a lovely weekend, surrounded by people you love and lots of laughter, ok!?