Friday, 18 April 2014

Hot. Cross. Stitching.

Inspired by all the Easter stitching goodies I've seen on Pinterest this week, I decided to put thread to needle and do some stitching of my own.

I like the "dusted" look of this little French Knot Bunny. I made a stencil of a rabbit and traced it on to the linen. A quick outline in back stitch and then it was on to the French Knots . . .

Originally I planned to make this in lovely soft pastels, but then I liked the simplicity of the white on natural so much that I just stuck with that.

This is an idea that could be used for all sorts of shapes, letters and words. And with threads or markers - see here for more ideas about that.

And then there's the Cross Stitch Bunny using the Spring Rabbit pattern from The Little Stitcher. This little guy went together pretty quickly. I like the simplicity of this design and was thinking of making it into a little lavender bag. But then I was inspired by Cindy's little fabric weights over at Fluffy Sheep Quilting . . . so it's now my latest pin cushion, filled with silica sand so it's nice and substantial to do double duty as a fabric weight!

I don't usually do much in the way of decorating for Easter . . . but the rabbit designs see to have caught my imagination this year. What Easter crafting are you up to?

Pattern: Spring Rabbit
Designer: The Little Stitcher

Fabric: 32 count linen
Thread: Cosmo 8040

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Ice Cream Is Recommended

It's true . . . it says so right there in my Great Grandfather's Cookery Book!

Magnificent food value, it says. Recommended for folks of all ages! If it's in print, then surely it must be true . . .

And my Nan used to make Pufftaloons for Sunday breakfast for us when we would visit in the Christmas holidays. I don't know anyone else who's ever heard of them. People have laughed and scoffed when I've fondly described them. Such a strange name. And not very healthy. But they are real, the recipe's right there to prove it . . .

I'm very fortunate as our family's historian to be the custodian of some real treasures - this Cookery Book among them. It has seen better days, there's no denying. It's been re-covered long ago. But it's got some great bits, like his name inked into the pages by his own hand. Some detective work from the advertising makes it probably about a 1933 edition.

As well as all the recipes, there's something else for the modern cook . . .

The house-proud little lady . . .

The entertainer . . .

And the seamstress . . .

Ahh, the good old days . . .

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Sailing, Scaling and Stitching

We were very fortunate recently to go on our first cruise. We sailed on the incredibly large Voyager Of The Seas for 14 nights to New Zealand and Tasmania.

As well as being our first cruise, it was also our first time to New Zealand and our first time to Tasmania!

One of the highlights of our trip was climbing to the top of Mt Maunganui, scaling an extinct volcano in the Bay of Plenty region of NZ. It was both exhilarating and challenging . . .

And from the top, the most wonderful view!

We were lucky to enjoy great weather for almost the entire trip. The exception was the day we spent cruising through Doubtful, Dusky and Milford Sounds. Although that day was pretty cold and bleak, we were still able to enjoy some really spectacular scenery . . . even on such a moody day, there was plenty of beauty to be seen!

While on the cruise I was  able to take part in classes hosted by Needlework Tours - something like 22 tutors and about 320 stitchers, each with 3 projects to work on over 6 days of the cruise.

The first class I had was for a Counted Needlework Set with Christine P Bishop . . .

This type of stitching requires precision. There was a lot of counting and concentrating . . . a bit of unpicking . . . and a new-to-me stitch - Italian four-sided stitch, which I really liked. I finished the biscornu and made a start on the wallet too. We had a choice of 7 different colour ways for this project.  I chose the blue/green scheme of this set and am really happy with it.

My second class was with Judy Newman, working on the wonderfully gorgeous Museum Medallion quilt . . .

This was my first real foray into hand piecing. I was a bit nervous about it - mostly about maintaining accuracy of the pieces. But Judy was able to put my mind at ease . . . and I'm really happy with how the centre medallion is coming along. There's still A LOT of work to go on this, but I can't wait to see it finished as it's a really beautiful quilt.

My final class was the beautiful Wildflower Jewel Box with Fiona Hawdon . . .

I had a great time working on this embroidery . . . lots of colonial knots and and bullion stitches combined to make this wonderful collection of Australian wildflowers.

We made some lovely new friends on the cruise, and caught up with some old ones too! All in all, we had a great time - we went to new places, we saw some pretty spectacular sights and made some wonderful memories . . . which is as it should be!

Pattern: Counted Needlework Set
Designer: Christine P Biship

Pattern: Museum Medallion
Designer: Judy Newman

Pattern: Wildflower Jewel Box
Designer: Fiona Hawdon

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

European Folk Art Stitching

As soon as I saw this design I knew it was one I would have to stitch . . .

I am really drawn to the European Folk Art style of Sylvia's design, but rather than make it up into a cushion I stretched the finished piece over a canvas (pictured below hanging in a collection with Lynette Anderson's Our Home applique and Rosalie Quinlan's Heartsong stitchery).

The blue linen is something I've been wanting to work with for a while and I really like the effect of the tone on tone stitchery.

I love the mandala-like central medallion . . .

and the openness of the chain stitched outer leaves.

I like the satin stitch circles (although there were a few moments when I thought they would never be done) and I really enjoyed working the chain stitch. I think it gives such a depth and interest to the  stitching.

This is a style of stitching that I will definitely use again! I'm thinking large cushions. And lots of colour . . .

Pattern: Stitchery Cushion
Designer: Sylvia Frazer

Fabric: Dress linen
Threads: DMC 932

Saturday, 4 January 2014

28 Years Married

It's been 28 years since we became Mr and Mrs. 
In that time we've added . . .
2 Kids
7 Dogs
2 Cats
17 Homes
Way too many cars

This guy's had my heart since the very first day.

I can honestly say that it's been a wild and crazy ride so far - some bits planned and some not so much.

He's funny and smart. He's gentle and strong. He's intuitive and creative. And he chose me.

I can't wait to see what the next chapters bring . . . and I love that I get to share every bit of them with the love of my life!

Who can ask for anything more?

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Welcome 2014

Here's to  2014.

To hope and possibilities.
To learning something new.
To doing something useful.
To making a difference.
To love and laughter and friendship.
To good times, real connections and meaningful moments.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Farewell 2013

It's been a long, tough year for our family. There have been times that I've felt absolutely, totally broken. But there have also been times when my heart has seemed mended and whole - I'm pretty lucky to share my life with some incredibly special people who help make the ride worthwhile.

Here's to a new year - one with hope and joy and connection . . .

In 2013 I committed to taking a picture a day - a Project 365. There were some days that I could not have cared less about taking a picture. And others where I had too many to choose from. But in the midst of my chaos, I just kept clicking.

Every. Single. Day.

This is my 2013 in pictures . . .

App: Project 365 Pro

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Day Tripping

We took a day trip - our first road trip in a while - to the Japanese Gardens at Cowra. In anticipation of a forecast hot day we set off early.

It was an easy 2 and a bit hour drive through country NSW, and we were rewarded with a great big summer sky and glorious vistas . . .

With construction started 35 years ago in 1978, the Japanese Gardens are set on 12.5 acres and are really beautiful. The feel like they've always been there. The overwhelming sense while there was one of tranquility and peace.

We came away with our heads filled with ideas we'd like to incorporate into our own garden. While we've already got some Japanese Maple trees to get started with, we're going to have to get creative in our thinking, though, since our block of land is like the size of a postage stamp in comparison to the Japanese Garden!!

We're looking forward to going back in the autumn to see the stunning Japanese Maples as they change colour . . . and then again in spring to see the Cherry Blossoms . . .

And to creating a little piece of that tranquility of our very own!

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

From our home to yours . . .

Wishing you a wonderful, happy and safe Christmas . . . whether it's with family, friends or in your own company . . . may you find peace and joy and contentment.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, 23 December 2013

Build your own dessert

We usually find some tasty little treat for dessert after our family dinners. In the spirit of the festive season, this time it was "build your own . . . Santa".

Take a strawberry . . . add some cream . . . chocolate and vanilla fudge in a tube . . . mixed with a bit of imagination. And what do you get???

Strawberry Santas, of course . . .

Or birds.

Or wierd little guys.

Or smiley faces.

In the midst of all the laughter we did manage to eat a few strawberries - and they were so sweet and tasty. There's nothing quite like a bit of "interactive dessert" to ensure that much laughter and fun is had by all!

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Wally-Woo turns One

He's all grown up. He's hairy and loveable. He's scared by sneezes.

And when he's happy his whole body wags!

He loves chasing a ball or playing tug-o-war. And playing chasings around the house or the yard his him in raptures.

He's a totally slightly pampered pooch (Gary may deny it, but it's all true!!!) - think Mrs Pumphrey and Tricky Woo in the James Herriot stories!

But most of all he loves the boys in our house who love him in return just as much! He's brought a whole new dimension to our home . . . in a good way.

Happy 1st Birthday Walter xx

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Plum Pudding anyone?

I know, I know . . . it's too early for Christmas.

Or is it?

I made a couple of these cute little Plum Pudding decorations quite a few years ago, and I thought I'd add a couple more to my collection.

Just out of curiosity, when does it stop being a collection and how many does it take before collection becomes obsession??

If you fancy making one of these yourself, here's a simple "how to" . . .

  • 1 polystyrene ball - I've used a couple of different sizes, but prefer the ones that are just about 1 1/2"
  • Pins - Lills Pins (Short) - one container will make a few puddings, plus 1 longer pin for the hanging loop
  • Sequins - 2 colours, darker for the "pudding" and lighter for the "custard/cream"
  • Beads - little ones to suit the lighter sequins, plus 1 slightly larger red one for the berry
  • Holly - Either metallic ones found in the bead section of your local craft store, or my preferred option, Holly cake picks

  1. Use a pen or fine marker to draw a line around the ball to mark the "custard" line. There's no right or wrong - just whatever is pleasing to your eye.
  2. Starting at the bottom, in the centre, pin dark sequins, cupped side DOWN, to the ball until the entire "pudding" is filled up to the "custard" line. Ensure that the sequins slightly overlap each other so no polystyrene is visible
  3. Load your pin with one little bead, then a lighter sequin, cupped side UP.
  4. Starting at the "custard" line, working your way around and then up to the centre top, pin bead/sequins in place. As with the bottom sequins, ensure the sequins slightly overlap each other so no polystyrene is visible. Leave a small area at the top to add the holly.
  5. Trim the stem of the holly to somewhere between 3/4 & 1" (long enough to poke into the ball, but not so long that it pokes out the other end!) 
  6. Using a small amount of glue (suitable for polystyrene) on the stem of the holly, poke the stem into the ball.
  7. Tie a knot in the end of a looped length of metallic thread for the hanger.
  8. Load a small clear bead and then the red bead onto the larger pin (if you've got a larger head on your pin and it doesn't fall through the bead, then don't worry about the clear bead). Poke the pin through the knot of the hanger thread.
  9. Again, using a small amount of glue on the pin, poke the pin into the ball, in front of the holly. I then adjusted the hanger thread so that it wrapped around to the back of the holly leaves (it seemed to hang a bit neater that way). If your holly cake pick comes with a couple of berries attached, you're done. If not, add a couple more red beads on longer pins in front of the holly to make a cluster of berries.
  10. Let the glue dry thoroughly before hanging your "Pudding". Trust me on this - the pins will eventually come out if you don't glue, or don't let the glue dry thoroughly. And no-one wants their pudding falling off the tree prematurely!!
  11. All that's left to do is enjoy these little puddings hanging on your tree (and they sparkle quite nicely if you have lights on your tree, too).

These sequined Plum Puddings make great decorations and great little gifts. They are delightful and calorie-free! Will you stop at just one??

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