Sunday, August 24, 2014

Free mini classes

You know the old saying - 
if it's too good to be true, then it probably is!

Well, there is an exception - 
the fabulous Craftsy organisation! 

I joined nearly two years ago, (and it is totally free to be a member), and my experience with this brilliant group only keeps getting better. Not only to do they have the most fantastic online courses, but they also allow independent designers like me to sell my patterns on their website - and they don't charge any commission!

I want to tell you today about their free mini-classes.  I am enrolled in a few of them and they are really ever so useful. This bag-making one sounds great - instructions for two bags and lots of great tips:

Or maybe you would like some ideas for making birthday cards. You'll find a few in this free class:

I'm definitely going to enrol in this sewing machine basics class. I've been sewing for years and yet I'm always picking up new information that I have never heard before:

There are 35 free Craftsy mini classes available in an amazing variety of crafts - jewellery, drawing, cooking, cake decorating, knitting ... Hop over and have a look:

There's only been one thing on my mind now that our visitor has gone - Japan! I've been preparing my applique/stitcheries to take with me. I am so pleased with this new design. It's going to take me for ever to complete because there is so much stitching in it - but that's what I love!

I've found my bag tag ready to put on my suitcase. Isn't this just the cutest?

I've had my hair cut, revised some Japanese phrases, and now it's the mammoth 'last week' countdown. I've got my "to do" list all organised - now to tick off all the jobs!

Have a great week.

Disclosure: If you become a Craftsy member after clicking on my links, then I will be paid a small commission.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Free Block of the Month Wall Quilt Pattern 8

The months whizz around so it's time to give you the next free mini-quilt in the Shining Like the Dawn wall quilt.

The word for this month is "Delight" - not a noun, but a verb! It comes from Psalm 37:4 which is another of my favourites:
"Delight yourself in God and He will give you your heart's desire."  
That sure is the secret to a contented life!

You can find the pattern here.  I hope you enjoy stitching this little quilt.

Burlap/hessian and lace is such an incongruous mixture ... but it works! I called this bag "Widdecombe Fair" as it was designed as a quick bag to make for a fete or fair. The name is a throw-back to my childhood when we learned the Devon folk song at school. The words and tune are still fresh in my memory!

The pattern can be found in Handmade magazine Vol 32 No 10:

 We have twins in our family - boy/girl twins and these delightful young people have just turned 21! Last weekend we had a wonderful family party to celebrate. Our talented younger daughter made the cake: 

All that lacework, and what looks like cupcake papers, are made of chocolate. There were further surprises when the cupcake 'papers' were removed to find all sorts of goodies inside:

You can see some of the other cakes Janelle has made here.

Not much stitching happening in my neck of the woods at the moment, as we've had a visitor staying with us and I am also counting down to our trip to Japan. This stitchery did get completed:

One of the 'must finish' jobs for this week is to prepare nine little applique and stitchery blocks to take with me. I would never enjoy a holiday if I didn't have some stitching to do, though I don't expect to get much done as daughter has already booked me to do some of her sewing!

Happy stitching!

Sunday, August 10, 2014


Australia is home to some unique, fascinating animals, and when I was asked to design a cot quilt using Helen Stubbing's new fabric range, Basically Hugs, my first thought was to showcase the fabric around appliques of some of our amazing fauna.

Australia has a number of marsupials - live-birth mammals that carry their young in a pouch. You all know our Kangaroo, but we also have Possum:



 Then there are our Monotremes - they lay eggs, but feed their babies milk like a mammal:


 Echidna or Spiny Anteater:

I love the cute naivety of these appliques. And no, I didn't design them! I commissioned my 11 year old grandson to draw them for me. He is a budding artist and I think he did brilliantly with these animals. It was such fun collaborating - grandma and grandson!

Here's the finished quilt which is called Huggles. Our family have always called hugs and cuddles "Huggles", so I couldn't go past that name with a fabric range called "Basically Hugs", could I!

It's in the latest issue of Australian Patchwork and Quilting Magazine Vol 23 No 12. Here's the photo they shared on Facebook:

Grandson and the rest of his family have been here for the weekend and we've been doing some more collaborating. I think we make a good team!

I'm getting excited about the overseas trip my husband and I are having in just three weeks. Hubby is presenting a paper at a conference in Yokohama, Japan, and that city just happens to be where our daughter and her family live!!!  Bring on the fun!  I've been ticking off the jobs that have to be done before then, and now have only the binding to finish on one commission. I'm trying not to start anything new! So instead of rummaging around in my stash, I worked on preparing some of my recent patterns to put in my shop.

Daisies in the Field Bag is done and the $5 pattern also includes a pattern for a glasses case and a notebook cover:

I'll have the next block in the free "Shining like the Dawn" next week.  See you then.


Sunday, August 3, 2014

Everything has to be done NOW!

I confess to being the type of personality where everything has to be done NOW! If there's a job to be done, tackle it head-on and get it finished and out of the way. Now maybe it doesn't apply to housework ... but I'm the type who likes a clean slate. I don't like a big long "To Do" list looking at me for weeks.

Last week, I decided I would have an overhaul of my patterns - remove some old ones, rearranging and organising them all in one place in my Craftsy shop. I opened the diary and carefully divided the work into manageable sections over the next week or two - Wall-hangings on Monday, Quilts on Tuesday, Bags on Wednesday etc.

I could blame the weather - it was too cold and windy yesterday to go and work in the garden - but realistically there was a job hanging over my head and it needed to be done NOW!  So, the diary entries were totally ignored, and I went head-on into it.  Of course, once I started, I wanted to finish ... so the job is all done!

I decided to reduce the price of quite a few of my patterns - like the Busy Bees Pincushion now just $3:

While I was at it, I thought it was time to add a few of my latest designs. Picnic in the Park is now available:

 It includes a cutlery wrap:

I hope you enjoy browsing my reorganised pages. You can see the different categories listed at the top of my sidebar. I plan to add another half dozen patterns over the next couple of weeks. (That job can take up my empty diary spots!)

In between patchwork, stitching and quilting, I like to do some silk ribbon embroidery and my latest design is in Embroidery & Cross Stitch magazine Vol 22 No 1:

A sweet felt bag:

The butterfly could be appliqued on just about anything:

 Kacoonda silk ribbons are such a joy to work with.

 Are you a procrastinator or do you try to finish the job before you start, like me?

Happy stitching.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Beauty - of people and things

I have been privileged to know many beautiful people throughout my life. Coral, fighting a terrible disease courageously, with dignity, and full of faith, is one of those. Coral is unable to do very little sewing now and so she has given me much of her beautiful fabric stash.

Some lovely oriental fabric was one of her gifts to me and I wanted to make something practical and beautiful from it. I came up with this bedrunner and cushion set:

It uses my original block design, "The Disappearing Square" and I love the opulent colours against the black and gold. I couldn't go past calling it "Coral's Gift".

The pattern is in the latest Patchwork & Stitching magazine Vol 15 No 8. I will be making the pattern available in a couple of weeks for any international readers who might wish to make this design.

Apart from beautiful people, there have been some beautiful things in my life this week. We live just a couple of houses from a pond which is full of delightful surprises whenever we visit it. A quick walk to the post box on Monday discovered our friend, the Rakali, there again on Monday. I didn't have my camera with me but I've included a photo I took of him last year. They are fascinating Australian native creatures and we were delighted to see him. You can read some information about Rakali on my clever grandson's blog, Ten Random Facts.

Sunrise yesterday, was another beautiful sight. God had his paintbrush out again:

I don't know whether you can call a cake 'beautiful', but it sure tastes Yum! I don't know that I've ever shared a recipe with my readers - that's probably because cooking is right down the list of my priorities! I do it because I have to, not because I love it. I would much rather be in my sewing room!!!

Being senior citizens, my husband and I need to watch our health and that's another reason I don't bake lots of cakes and wonderful desserts! However this fruit cake is on the healthier side, if there is really such a thing as a healthy cake. It boasts being Cholesterol free, having no fat or added sugar. The bonus is that it always turns out brilliantly, is lovely and moist and is super quick and easy to make. A beautiful friend shared the recipe with me, so I'd like to pass it on to you.

You can find the recipe here - I hope you enjoy it!