Free Block of the Month Wall Quilt - Pattern 8

Today I have for you the next Block in our 
free Block of the Month Quilt
You Are Blessed.

Here is this month's verse:
You are blessed when you’re hungry and thirsty
for goodness, for then you will be fully satisfied!
Matthew 5:6

Not satisfied with your life? 
Finding possessions, job, friendships don't fill that empty void? 

Our verse this month has the answer. 
Having an appetite for God with our greatest desire to do what He requires, is where true full satisfaction is found.

I hope you will be blessed as you stitch this new block. The Pattern is here in my Craftsy Store. Next month I will have the finishing instructions for you, so keep an eye out for them.

This last week I have had a friend staying with us for a little holiday. Don't you love it when you meet up with someone whom you haven't seen for years, and you just pick up where you left off all that time ago?  We enjoyed a day at the Ekka, the affectionate name everyone calls the Royal Queensland Show. (Australians are renowned for shortening the names of things, Ekka being short for Exhibition!)

To avoid the later crowds at the Show, we made a beeline for the Fine Arts building as soon as we arrived. We roamed up and down the displays of decorated cakes, cross-stitch, quilts, crochet, woodwork and all sorts of wonderful crafts and culinary delights, expressing our opinions on the entries and the judges' decision to award 'that' one first prize, when obviously the 'other' one was better!!!

The best bit for me was when I saw this entry which had received a prize and realised it was one of my published patterns that had been used. I had special permission from an official to take a photo of it.

and here's my original version of Annie's Favourite:

The rest of our week together was spent enjoying some meals out, walks on the beach, showing my friend the sights and a trip to our local art centre. This locally-made pottery spoon holder came home with me:

When we visited one of our beaches, we were amazed to find that three tandem skydives were about to happen just a few metres in front of us. It was quite an experience to see the base co-ordinator radioing wind strength and directional details to the pilot, then looking for the plane (which was so high we couldn't see it!), then to see three tiny parachutes emerge. One was overhead, one was way over the bush and the other was out over the ocean, but they all landed on cue in the right spot on the beach!

As you can see, we have had just perfect weather. As they say about Queensland, beautiful one day, perfect the next. Hubby and I spent a couple of hours bushwalking yesterday morning which gave me plenty of motivation to cut out and start stitching a new bag design in the afternoon. Stitching is definitely better than spring cleaning!!!


On making needle-cases

I love designing stitching accessories and have made dozens of pincushions, needle-cases and scissor-keeps - so many that in the last year I decided to have a bit of a moratorium on them! But, when I wasn't looking, somehow two needle-cases recently popped into existence! 

Hollyhock Cottage Needle-case was originally designed for a workshop that I taught. It's mostly hand-stitching with just a teeny bit of machine stitching to put it together. Lots of lovely stitches:

It has now been published in Country Threads magazine Vol 17 Issue 9.

If you're in the south-east Queensland area, I will be teaching this project at the Creative Craft Retreat in October. The cottage can be made into a needle-case, tissue holder or card wallet.

I showed you the other needle-case a few months back - "Curled up and Content":

I use so many different sizes and types of needles in my stitching that I like to keep them in their packets so they are easy to find. You can read here what I wrote about that a couple of years ago which is still relevant. Curled up and Content has six slots for needle packets and some felt for holding some needles and threads while work is in progress:

Australian animals are so amazing. This is our echidna:

The pattern is now available for purchase in my Craftsy Store.

With the slightest hint of warmer weather, my body said it was time to start spring-cleaning! I was appalled recently when I had a good look in my kitchen drawers and saw all the accumulated dust and dirt. Thirteen drawers later, and I had cleaned, thrown out, tidied, repurposed a box to contain all those loose coasters, and generally had everything organised beautifully. 

Then I opened the door of our walk-in pantry - you guessed it, out with everything and a big cleanup. I found this beautiful wooden bowl with inset mother-of-pearl which I bought on a visit to the Solomon Islands many years ago. It was stashed on the top shelf right at the back and I had to get the step ladder to reach it. 

They're only imitation flowers in it, but that bowl definitely needed to be out on show and to have its moment of glory again.

Having done all that cleaning, I couldn't leave the rest of the kitchen cupboards so they all had a spruce up too! Then I began to see dirt everywhere - don't know how I couldn't see it before!!! When you're on a roll, you go with the flow, so I am very happy to say that the whole of our large house got a good going over - all except my husband's study. After 50 years of marriage, you know that you just don't move anything in there!


Letting the weather affect one's life!

I dislike Winter! "Hate" is probably too strong a word for my feelings about it now that we live in the subtropics, but I still complain if the temperature drops below 20 degrees (68 F).

I've achieved very little over the last Winter month, had very little motivation, thin on ideas, generally feeling down, and spending lots of time reading inane Facebook posts because I couldn't be bothered doing anything else! I've been blaming it on the fact that some of the outlets for my designs have closed up, accompanied by lack of sleep.

Until yesterday!

Yesterday was one of those amazing Queensland winter days with a temperature of  29 degrees (84 F).  I was up early, out in the garden dealing with all those weeds that have been crying for attention for weeks. Then into the sewing room and out came a design that has been sitting ready to be put together for a couple of months. All the embroidery was done but I've been hedging on it and putting it in the too hard basket. It didn't take long at all to audition a few fabrics and work out the overall plan. By the end of the afternoon, I had cut out all the pieces and started sewing them together.

 I achieved more in one day than I had in 3 or 4 weeks! Then it hit me! I was still not getting much sleep, circumstances hadn't changed, but the weather had!!! Everything had come to life because my body thought that summer had arrived!  I had totally forgotten how the weather affects my life! [There's a medical name for the syndrome - Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).] So, I'm all enthused about stitching again. Even though I know it will revert to being cold again a few times in the coming weeks, there's a light at the end of the tunnel and Spring is just around the corner.

My lovely day was finished off in the late afternoon with a delightful walk with DH around the local Pond and down to the Beach  - perfect!

Thinking of Spring reminds me that I recently put the Friendship Garden door hanger pattern, with all its pretty flowers, in my Craftsy Store Bring on Spring!

Happy Stitching!

Dreams and Reality

Sometimes I just have to pinch myself to make sure my dream is a reality. As I have mentioned before, I dreamt that one day my craft would be recognised as being good enough to be published. To have my name on the front cover of one of Australia's favourite craft magazines, just blows my mind!

I feel so honoured to have another profile in Patchwork & Stitching magazine, especially as there will only be another two or three issues before it closes down for good.

Here's what the article looks like inside.

In the same magazine is my Stitching Fairy, another collaborative effort with my grandson.

I told him I wanted something else beside the fairy in the drawing and he came up with "one of those abstract flowery things" as he calls it: 

It was just the perfect addition to the design. I used water colour pencils to add spots of colour.

The stitching fairy is ready to work all night for us and have all those pesky bindings stitched down by morning!

Vol 17 No 12 if you would like to stitch this one.

I can't say I am running on all four cylinders at the moment. Continued lack of sleep takes its toll after a while. My husband had quite a relapse with his skin problem this week and we are ever so thankful for skillful and helpful doctors who have gone the second mile to assist in the control of this debilitating autoimmune disease. But it all takes time and effort and tends to drain away the creativity!

I did manage to achieve one craft project - a decorated hand-towel. I am rather pleased how well it turned out.

I machine-appliqued the cupcakes and then combined lace, fabric, ricrac and some Prairie Points to finish it off. I have another couple of towels I could do, so I hope I can be disciplined enough to drag myself from Pinterest, Facebook and aimless Googling and have enough energy to do them, as I think they are worth the effort. The dream doesn't turn into reality without a certain degree of exertion!


Free Block of the Month Wall Quilt - Pattern 7

The year is flying by and it's time to give you the second last block in the 
free Block of the Month Wall Quilt
You Are Blessed

This is the verse for Pattern 7:
You’re blessed when you get your inside world — your mind and heart — put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.
Matthew 5:8

 My husband and I live in a beautiful area of God’s creation - rainforest, beach, ocean, lots of places to walk in the bush, wonderful flora and fauna. I find it hard to understand people who can’t see how amazing God is when they look at the intricacies and beauty of nature.

 Light dawned as to why this happens, when I read our verse for this month’s block. It’s only when our inside world is put right that we can see God in the outside world. How amazing that Jesus came to make it possible to get our mind and heart put right. We can have a new page in our life every day — no need to always be trying “to turn over a new leaf”. 

I do hope and pray that you are blessed as you stitch this block. You can download the free pattern 

I've had one of those 'bits and pieces' weeks. We have had some very restless nights with my husband having a bad cough and his skin condition playing up, so with being very tired, I have been feeling rather lazy and not too interested in sitting at the sewing machine. There's been a couple of medical appointments, the dishwasher to be given its regular deep clean, a Community Morning Tea to attend, and yet another attempt at getting our modem with the right settings so that the phone doesn't drop out.  Then yesterday morning when I turned on my computer I couldn't believe my eyes, as everything had been reset as if it was new and never been used - no emails, no favourites, no programme settings - all disappeared!  After the initial panic, I guessed it was probably an automatic upgrade to the operating system that had gone wrong, so I did a system restore and thankfully everything came back to the status quo.

About the only crafty thing that I did accomplish in the week was to upload the Raspberry Sherbet Table Runner to my Craftsy Store.

The runner is quite simple to make, but very effective with the colours offset by the black contrast. The pattern is available here.

My latest Patchwork & Stitching magazine arrived yesterday and I was happy to see my name on the front cover!  Yes, there's an article about me in it!  I'll show you more next time.

Happy stitching,