A common question I hear from lovely gals who really enjoy hand embroidery is -
"What can I do with the finished piece? I have plenty of UFO stitcheries and don't know how to use them. "
I have to tell you that predicament never fazes me because I love the fact that gift giving whether for an occasion or 'just because' isn't hard when you have a beautiful supply of hand embroidered blocks to play with and some fabric scraps, buttons, lace and notions.
There was a time when I used to over-think the making of gifts, imagining there'd be a mountain of work to do and everything had to be perfect and intricate. And you know, that thinking would often delay the process and cause me to feel quite anxious.
But not these days.
There's a lot of time and care given to a piece of hand embroidery and when you focus on making that block the 'star' of a final display it allows you to breathe and think simply.
Like my "Have Faith in God" design.
It's been in my completed stitcheries box for three years waiting for a chance to shine and I'm sure if it could talk it would have squealed in delight when I pressed it, trimmed it and began to cut border fabrics yesterday.
Two fabrics which blended beautifully became the border and binding, and a length of soft pink seam binding ribbon sewn into the top edge holds the little star hanger in place. So simple. So sweet. No fuss.
I'm sharing this pattern with you today because you might just like to make it yourself.
Three other stitcheries found themselves shining yesterday as well.
Again, my formula was simple borders and maybe a few little notions.
Bless Our Home is a very tiny design stitched onto unbleached feed sack so I chose a small print floral border in colours which blended with the threads, but to add that something extra there's a row of hand quilting just inside the stitchery border. This little mini had no binding but was finished in the envelope style.
Another little hanger, more pretty seam binding ribbon, and I was tempted to keep this for myself!
It's all wrapped and ready to be posted now, but I am tracing it again because I really do want another for our home.
Buttons on a border are nice too.
When I chose the fabrics for "Laugh Every Day" I wanted to break the clean line between block and border so I added four odd buttons (all the same colour but different styles) into the corners.
Again I chose a small hanger, seam binding ribbon and a contrast binding fabric.
The buttons are tied into the corners for an extra cute effect.
This became such a happy mini quilt!
Framed stitcheries are another of my favourite gifts to give.
"Fly Free" only needed a narrow contrasting fabric border and a slightly aged frame to look lovely.
We go to garage sales every weekend and I've always got my eye peeled for old frames. Over time my collection has grown and I can usually find the right one in my stash for housing a completed stitchery.
I've got even more blocks ready and waiting in my sewing room to be made into their final display and I'm excited to be doing this because it only took me four hours to complete all the ones I've shown you today.
I hope that seeing a few very simple ways to use your completed embroidery blocks has inspired you to pull your UFO's out for an afternoon of sewing?
Besides my afternoon of sewing yesterday there's a lot been happening around the home, especially since my husband finished work for the year and set his energies to working long hours in our garden.
The weather is incredibly hot and humid now so I'm up at 5 am to do my part before the day gets too hot and then he takes over a bit later and does the heavy chores till lunchtime. We have an early dinner around 5.30 and then he goes back outside till around 9 pm to get more yard work done in the cooler hours.
We bought the biggest pile of mulch at the weekend and it was dropped out front of the house so there's been about 300 wheelbarrow trips from the front to the back over the past three days.
This was the morning of day two and still plenty of mulch to shovel and barrow. At the start the pile was as tall as him (6 foot)...
Three quarters is now over the backyard where we're working at improving the soil for our autumn/winter food crops, and the rest is piled right at the back fence for covering another garden bed still in production.
We also have two huge bales of sugar cane mulch which we got from the farm early this month (when
we he picked mangoes) and that will be spread across the front yard later this week.
Like most of Australia we're hoping for rain, but in the meantime we're managing the gardens as best we can and doing all the dry-weather chores. I can't complain though, our water restrictions are nowhere near as bad as many other towns, yet.
Today Blossom and the little ones came over for morning tea and she brought her grandmother-in-law as well. Rita, who moved to Australia from Greece, was 80 the other day, so we had a little party for her. What a wonderful morning we had! All four generations of women, so much history to share, good food, coffee and little girl hugs and laughter.
Mr E sat with us for a while before heading back outside with a 3yo work buddy.
Cully May brought her gum boots (wellingtons) so she could help Poppy gather fallen palm fronds, small branches and leaves. Once she was slathered in sunscreen, her hat and gum boots in place, water bottle by her side, off she trotted behind him for a good hour...she really loves being his little shadow and he certainly enjoys the time with her as well.
I'll do my last pre-Christmas blog post later in the week and you'll finally get to see some photos of my free 2020 Block of the Month.
May your days be not wearisome but fruitful with laughter, hugs and warm memories as we ponder the Christ Child born in a manger.
May your mind fill with God's peace, your hands with good purpose, and your heart with thankfulness as we remember His decision to leave the throne of heaven to walk amongst men that He might show them the way to the Father.
May we stop, often, to give Him praise.
PS: I bought the little hangers from ebay (many people are asking) as well as the seam binding ribbon. Both are inexpensive.