Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Fabric Goodness . . .

I know I should be thinking about Christmas, but  I've been seduced by this pile of fabric goodness . . .

It was spur of the moment.

There was a sale - which always helps.

And it felt soooo good to my fingertips.

I have a bit of a plan - it involves hexagons and lots of hand piecing. I made a quilt a while back, which I love, but I always wanted to try it in another colourway. And these fabrics will be just perfect!

One of the fabrics really appealed to my 'Simple' philosophy . . .

How could I resist this fabric from the Authentic by Sweetwater for Moda Fabrics?

What's inspiring you in your world?

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Advent Calendar

This is a pattern from Anni Downs of Hatched and Patched, called “It’s Christmas Time”, which I made quite a few years ago now.

My daughter inherited it when she moved out of home last year. I got it back from her to “fill it up” again for this Christmas. Each little pocket has a couple of sweets and a paper scroll with a joke on it – just a bit of fun leading up to Christmas. My son hasn’t fared quite as well. His advent calendar is a bit makeshift. (Sorry Zack – you know I love you – you’re still my favourite first-born child!) He moved out of home this year and I didn’t really give too much thought to advent calendars – for him or for us – until the other day. So next year I’ll have to make something for him (and myself, too).

How do you count down to Christmas in your world?

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Going Digital!

Well, we certainly like our gadgets. And we love technology. And after some inspiration from our son, we have “gone over to the dark side”. We got ourselves an iMac! And I must say I’m liking it a lot. We’ve decided to go electronic with our entertainment, so at the moment iTunes is our new best friend.

We’ve got quite a selection of DVDs, and while we’ve watched them all, there are quite a few that we probably wouldn’t watch again and they just take up space. So looking forward, we thought why not buy our movies and music online. The storage is certainly more compact, which is a huge bonus for me. Fits in well with minimising the clutter! Decision made!

And our music . . . same sort of deal. Lots of CDs taking up lots of space. So the iPod it is! And it’s great for us. Your whole music collection wherever you go. That said, the task at hand is to actually get our whole collection on to the computer/iPod.

So this collection is a small part of what I’ll be dealing with in our effort to go digital. I must say, I’m quite enjoying hearing music I haven’t heard for a while. Ah, the memories . . .

What gadgets do you love in your world?

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Christmas Ornament Swap

I am so glad I signed up for this swap! My new friend Natima has been very generous in welcoming me to blog land, so thank you Natima. I really appreciate it. I’m also very grateful to Clare and Robyn for putting this whole ornament swap together. Thanks for being so generous with your time.

Yesreday I got my parcel of Christmas cheer in the mail from Natima!!!

Inside was a gorgeous collage card. And a card of Christmas buttons. And a beautiful heart to hang on my tree. I love the simplicity of it. And the accent of the yellow French knots. And the button with the beads hanging. I couldn’t be more pleased to receive this beautiful gift from my new “stitching sister” – Natima. Thank you so much!!! Go on over to Natima's blog to find out more about her inspiration for her swap ornament . . .

After exchanging emails with Natima, it seems that we have similar tastes in how we decorate our trees. It’s a bit of an eclectic style, so there was a lot of scope for this project. I decided to go with a bit of Christmas bling and crafted a sequined plum pudding for Natima.

I really enjoyed making this for her and felt a connection, a feeling of kinship – knowing that all around the globe, at the same time as me, other crafty folk were creating their ornaments to swap too.

The little card is from an online Christmas class I did a few years back with Kim Archer. I really liked making them then and enjoyed it just as much this time around. There’s something that really appeals to me about mini things, and this little card is only a couple of inches in size. It's a felt cover with cardstock pages. And the box to hold the plum pudding is a variation on one I made a year or so ago, which I really enjoyed doing. I like the quirkiness of the spots and stripes together. Quirky, I must say, appeals to me quite a bit at the moment. What does that say about me???

Are you getting ready for Christmas in your world?

Feeling VERY Grateful . . .

It’s been a week of holding our breath – or at least it seems that way. Last Wednesday Gary went to the skin clinic for a check up for a mole that had grown a bit. We weren’t really prepared for the news that it was a Melanoma. You don’t really want to hear the word cancer associated with anyone you know, so it was quite a shock. He’s fit and healthy. He runs for enjoyment. He loves being outdoors. And it seems that has been a bit of a problem!

When we went for the check up, his doctor fitted him in right away to do the surgery to remove the mole . . . and then the waiting game began.  We got the pathology results on Tuesday confirming that it was indeed a melanoma and a second round of surgery was required. Thankfully, it seems to be an “in-situ melanoma”, which is early stage, so hopefully yesterday’s surgery is all that is required to be clear of the cancer. Another few days of waiting to be sure, but the doctor is pretty confident.

So today as I tend to my very sore and sorry husband, I am so far beyond grateful that he’s going to be here with me for a long time to come . . . and we can both breath again.

Now, onto matters crafty . . .

Last Friday night I had the opportunity to go to a Christmas Craft Market with my mum and her friend. It was a very small local affair, for a day care centre. There were ready-made crafts to purchase, but also some stalls selling craft supplies. Well, I don’t really need too many supplies (but that’s a story for another day), but I did manage to pick up some fat quarters for one of my long-term projects.

A year or so ago I came across this book by Blackbird Designs

and instantly fell in love with the “Field of Blooms” quilt, inspired by an antique quilt they had used – originally for props and then they decided to include the pattern in the book. And that is how my “circles” began!

I use a 4-inch circle template, which gives me about a 1 3/4-inch finished yo-yo. I have cut circles from fabrics I had sitting around for a while, as well as some new fabrics that I just loved. I have decided to stick with a bright-pastel-ish palette, although since beginning I have thought of other colour ways that would be lovely, too. Projects for another day, I guess. I looked upon this as a project that would be completed in its own good time. A project to enjoy the process. No pressure. No deadlines. Just fun. So I started stitching circles. And in a Forrest Gump kind of way – I just kept stitching. I have stitched on road trips, hospital visits, social visits with friends and family, on the lounge in front of the TV. The list goes on.

My husband likes to break the numbers down in things, so he figured out that to make the size quilt I’d like to go on our bed I’d need . . . 2688 circles! Now, sometimes you don’t really need to know the numbers up front. It can be a bit overwhelming. But no matter, I started tracing, cutting and stitching circles. Early on I decided that I wouldn’t start stitching the circles together until I had enough, because I wanted to make sure that all the different fabrics were randomly spread, not clumped together. So I have bagged them by colour. When it comes time to join them I can just grab from the different bags.

I’ve got 641 circles stitched (I jot the number down on a piece of paper so I don’t have to re-count to know how I’m going). I had kind of stalled on this project a bit in the last few months, but I saw the fat quarters at the craft market and thought they would make a nice addition to the quilt. So these lovely bits of fabric will soon be traced and cut – and hopefully stitched in the not too distant future.

What are you stitching in your world?

PS Christmas Decoration Swap completed and posted. Pictures to follow once Natima has received it. Don’t want to give away the surprise.

Monday, 16 November 2009


Well it seems like the warm weather is here to stay. We have been spending our time doing "yardening" - a term coined by my husband, who says gardening to him is just plants. He's out there tending the plants, but also the pond and other stuff too. Re-paving the courtyard, soon to be building a pergola and the like . . . so yardening it is!

We have some gorgeous roses in our front garden. Some are just small plants, but one of them has the most thick, gnarly old trunk on it and it is absolutely laden with blooms. I can't take any credit - they were already in the garden when we moved in to our house in June. But I sure can enjoy the bounty! Like this vase full of beauty at our kitchen window.

Roses at my window

What's brightening up your world today?

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

My Christmas Quilt

I've been contacted by my Christmas Ornament Swap partner - hi Natima!!!

Natima mentioned that she was working on her christmas quilt on the weekend. Click over to her blog and check out what she's been up to.

It got me thinking about my Christmas quilt.

This is it and it will be hanging on our wall again come the first of December. This is the 'A Christmas Story' quilt from Anni Downs at Hatched and Patched. I bought the book and the fabric, but at the time I didn't really "do" applique. So it took me a while to get started with this quilt, but once I got going I just fell in love with needle turn applique. I really love Anni's whimsical style. So I had the quilt finished in time for last Christmas. I didn't do the little stitcheries for each of the 'tongues' around the border, but I just might get them done for next year!

What are you working on for christmas?

Monday, 9 November 2009

The boxes are . . . GONE!!!

These boxes have been part of our lives for more years than I care to remember. We have moved house A LOT. We've bought boxes. Given some away. Bought more for the next move. Once, we even bought back our own boxes from a removalist who'd bought them off someone else! I'm sure our kids felt that our family has never really settled down. Well, about 4 months ago we moved, for what is hopefully the last time for a long time. We bought our own place and we are finally fully unpacked. No more piles of boxes full of stuff in the garage. Everything pretty much has its own spot - and if there isn''t a spot for it and if we really don''t want it - it's gone! Gone to charity, passed on to someone who wants it. Whatever - gone! Even when we've been in one place for a while, there's always been the pile of boxes waiting to be packed again for the next move.

But no more. A few days ago we passed the last of the empty boxes on to someone else who's moving house.

But not us.

No more.

It's hard to believe. It was a shock to the kids - what? no more boxes? you're finally getting rid of them? you're really staying put? Now that the kids have left home, we've finally settled. No hidden meaning there. Just coincidence. But however it's happened, the boxes are . . . gone!!!

Friday, 23 October 2009

Found the link . . .

Here's the link I was looking for about the 10 Things Challenge . . . Simple. Organized. Life.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Feeling the need to simplify . . .

Earlier this year we had to pack up my father-in-law's house as he was moving into a nursing home and it really hit me that we spend so much time gathering "stuff", but what does it all really mean? How much value does it really add to our lives? A couple of months after that we had to pack up our own "stuff" when we moved house. Again I was hit by the amount of time and effort that goes into getting all the stuff, but how little attachment I really had to so much of it. After 2 garage sales, boxes of donations to charity and a skip full of rubbish, I'm feeling a little bit de-cluttered, but not quite enough. So . . . I'm on a mission to simplify my life. I've come across some good stuff on the web that has really prompted me to observe my home (and life) and take stock, so I wanted to share:

  • mnmlist: the essentials - a great little site to get you thinking (and hopefully acting), with links to other great thought provoking sites.

  • There's another site, that I just can't find at the moment, but basically the guy set himself a target to get rid of 10 things per week - to charity, to someone else, or to the bin if it was broken and un-fixable. I've managed to get to 10 things fairly easily the last couple of weeks. So far, so good!

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Christmas Ornament Swap

I've signed up for a bit of craft Christmas fun - it's the Handmade Christmas Ornament Swap 2009. Check out the details here.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Cross Stitch Journal Cover

A while ago I came across this blog (Note: the blog is in Dutch? The link is to an english translation. If you want to view the blog in its original language click here.) which was full of cross-stitch patterns. I was drawn in equally by the patterns and the story of how they came to be there. The patterns were discovered tucked away in an elderly aunt's attic. They were then digitised by a group of women who generously gave their time and finally posted on the web for us all to share. I love that these old patterns will not be forever lost, and that from a time long ago and a place I've never been, as I sat and stitched I felt a connection with other stitchers, a sisterhood that reaches both backwards and forwards, far beyond right here and now. So thank you to all the women who gave of themselves.

Below are some pictures of a journal cover I made using one of the patterns from Aunt's Attic. It is stitched on 27count pre-aged linen, stitched using DMC thread. The fabric for the remainder of the cover is a Julie Wallace (Quilter's Barn) design. It's a piece I bought at a craft show a while back - just because I loved it. I've been waiting for the right project to use it on since then (you know - the fat quarter you pull out of your stash and just feel from time to time - not yet ready to cut just yet). It had just the right coloured raspberry in the design to match the stitching, so I thought it was time to use it. I have added some ric-rac down the side edges. All in all, I'm quite pleased with the results.

Among The Gum Trees

I came across a blog today that I thought might be of interest to other stitchers - Among The Gum Trees is a collective blog for 9 Australian designers. They are pooling their talents and offering 9 Christmas Freebies! Click on the button in my sidebar to check out their site. You've got to love the generosity of crafters . . .

Among The Gum Trees Button

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Here I am . . .

I've been visiting blogs all over the place for a while now. I've been inspired, motivated, uplifted and sometimes moved to tears by people from all over the world sharing a little bit about themselves and what they do. I thought that it was time for me to jump in and make my contribution. To all those people who have, without knowing it, touched my life in some way with their stories and their generosity of spirit I say thank you.

I am a crafter from way back. I've made teddy bears, done ceramics, failed miserably at pottery. I'm currently pretty passionate about patchwork, stitcheries and cross stitch. And I'm a scrapbooker and family historian. Some days my mind is overflowing with creativity and other days - well, not so much. I have way too many projects on the go and hope to start finishing things some time soon. I try to enjoy the process and not get too caught up in guilt of not being finished. I've got more craft supplies than one girl should reasonably have and I'm hoping to start using and enjoying all the "stuff" more. We'll see how that goes.

This blog is a glimpse into . . .  Sue's world.  Please feel free to stop by from time to time. Leave me a comment if you like . . . just to let me know I'm not alone!
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