Sunday, June 26, 2016

Children - gifts sent from Heaven

Hubby and I are back home after spending 10 days with our family at the beautiful Whitsundays. 


It's a tropical paradise and in spite of some drizzly weather, we were able to enjoy a number of bush-walking outings.


As daughters do, Janelle produced a pile of mending and altering to keep me occupied. With four growing children, there's always plenty of that to do.  I didn't have to remind her of the saying below as she quoted it to me before I had a chance to mention it!:


We enjoyed meals at home and meals out, board games, movie nights and just hanging out together - there's nothing better than being with family! It was a delight to see our grandchildren growing into such delightful young people.

I always enjoy designing for children and I have recently put a couple of these designs in my Craftsy Store. My Refrigerator is an interactive wall-hanging, all the pieces being removable for pretend play.


The pattern is here.

Then there is the Shipshape Game which is a fun way of teaching toddlers shapes. It is based on the Memory Game and the pattern for the box to keep all the pieces is included.



You can find the pattern here.

Now to face a new week. We've been home four days and I've caught up with all the holiday washing, preserved seven bottles of pears, collected for the Leukaemia foundation, written some emails, have a hair-dressing appointment tomorrow and then I need to do some mending of my own. Hopefully the diary will be empty for a couple of days after that so I can put together this wall-hanging:


Be thankful for the gifts you have been sent from Heaven!

Val

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Free Block of the Month Wall Quilt - Pattern 6

Living in a fallen world means that stress, loss and sorrow is inevitable. Scientists tell us that a 20-second hug reduces the harmful physical effects of stress, including its impact on our blood pressure and heart rate. 


 Our verse featured in Pattern 6 of the free Block of the month Wall Quilt:
You are Blessed

 tells us that a time of grief and sorrow can turn into a great blessing, because that is when we can know God’s amazing comfort if we will but turn to Him. It’s as if God wraps His arms around us ... and there’s nothing quite like a hug from God!

You're blessed when you feel you've lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.   Matthew 5:4


Pattern 6 is available for free download in my Craftsy Store here.

While you're there, you might like to look at some of the other patterns I have put there recently:




I have also made available my 'take' on the cupcake pincushion. So many people have asked for the pattern over the years, and the photo last week again prompted requests, so here it is:


Free pattern in my Craftsy Store here.

This week I opened my PASS drawer (Projects At A StandStill). I had pretended it didn't exist for a year or so! What a shock I received when I looked in there. I had totally forgotten about all the bits and pieces I had hidden away. That was enough to motivate me to do something with at least one of those PASSes which was a completed stitchery. It just needed a couple of days of concentrated effort and now I have a very lovely completed object, but I can't show you yet as it is going to be a gift. I will however give you a look at some of the embroidery on it as it is something quite different using Japanese Bunka thread. 


I love the beautiful blending effect which the thread gives. The pattern was meant to be worked by Punch Needle but I chose to embroider it instead. You might have seen these photos on my Facebook page.


It's a fascinating thread to use and something I should explore more.

Hope you enjoy stitching the free patterns!
Val
  


Sunday, June 5, 2016

It's no use crying over spilt milk!

Friday a week ago started out like any other Friday - off to the Supermarket to be there when the doors opened. I bought everything in super quick time, including three cartons of milk. As always, they were packed in the soft Esky bag to keep them cool while I went to another store, where I bought more groceries, again in really quick time. At this rate, I was going to have all the shopping done in just over an hour, and have a whole day to do lots of stitching! 


BUT when I arrived back at the car to put the next load in, to my horror there was something white all over the back of the car. My first thought was milk, but when I checked in the Esky, the three cartons were standing up nicely, so it couldn’t be them. I searched everything else – stain remover, dishwashing liquid, etc but none of them were leaking. So back to the milk in the Esky. I picked up one to inspect it and it was totally fine. Ditto for the next one. When I lifted the next one, it nearly hit the roof of the car because it was totally empty. There in the carton was a huge gaping hole! Obviously it had been damaged in going through the checkout. That was the moment  I realized my big long day was fast disappearing down the plug hole!


 I finished the shopping, drove home, unpacked everything, all dripping with milk, washed half a dozen ‘green’ bags and the towels used to mop up the mess and then hosed down the two eskies which couldn’t go in the washing machine.


Now it was time to tackle the Subaru. I spread some carpet cleaning powder over the carpet in the car, which was a disaster! A couple of little brown spots previously there, suddenly became hand-size dark brown stains. I am thinking the powder must have been out of date and certainly wasn’t working as it should! I let it dry a bit to see if it would do any better, and then tried to vacuum up as much as possible. By this time the carpet was looking shocking. Thankfully I had a can of carpet shampoo, so decided to give that a go. That worked a lot better and it all didn’t look too bad after a good vacuum.


Subaru’s have all sorts of nooks and crannies in the back with five or six lift-up areas for storage. I didn’t think milk would have seeped through the cracks, but gave them a bit of a wipe-over anyway. All in all, it wasn’t too bad and only took me about three hours to do everything.


Sunday we came to get in the car to go to Church … and oh, the smell!!!!!! A quick spray of room freshener so we could survive to get to Church, home again, a change of clothes and it was time to start again to find the source. This time I removed the crank-handle, spanners etc and was horrified to find milk everywhere underneath them. I checked the spare wheel well and it looked OK as much as I could see and feel. This time, I surely had removed it all.

Unfortunately, a quick check next day found an even worse smell. So hubby and I struggled together to get the spare wheel out, to make the discovery of about a cup of bad milk in there - another clean up session and this time I left all the windows and doors open to try to remove the odour.


 Six days after the spill and it is Thursday, the day hubby goes off to the University. I did a quick check of the car to see his favourite cushion was in place and thought I would put all the car windows up for him seeing they were still open, … but they wouldn’t work. Oops, a couple of days earlier, I had discovered that the internal car lights had been on for a few(??) hours because the car doors were all open. I mustn’t have discovered them quickly enough because the battery was now flat and wouldn’t start the car! Thankfully we have a camping fridge battery so we were able to use the jumper leads and got the car going.


Fast forward another four or five days into the next week, and it was time to give the house a good vacuum. We have two nice smelly things in the vacuum cleaner so that you get a pleasant citrussy perfume through the house. I can assure you that the odour that was coming out was neither citrussy nor pleasant. Closer inspection of the innards was required. 
 

You guessed it – inside was a wet bag with putrid milk – so much for thinking the car carpet was dry enough when I vacuumed it! That wet bag had leaked into the cleaner and milk had congealed on all the vanes, on the bits sticking out and the filter, with a little pool in the bottom. Thankfully it doesn’t seem to have affected any of the working parts. So another half an hour to clean up that mess.

And the story is still not finished. If we leave the car shut for a couple of days, we’re still nearly overcome with the smell!!!

So, next time someone says, “It's no use crying over spilt milk”, you know what to tell them!

Val 
PS    I hope you enjoy my photos which have absolutely nothing to do with spilt milk!!!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Celebrating 200!

Last week I was talking about 400 and this week it's 200!

Yes, I'm celebrating having 200 designs published! ... and here is number 200:


I found these gorgeous little wooden mini hoops at a Craft Show at the end of last year and fell in love with them. The display area is just 1¼ inches so they are really quite tiny, so there is only a wee bit of stitching on each, but I think they are as 'cute as a button'.


Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would ever have any of my craft work published, so it is quite mind-boggling to think I've reached the 200 milestone.


For years I said I could never produce anything original and my only 'dream' was that one day my stitching would gain some sort of acknowledgement - maybe win a prize in a competition or someone from the Craft world would tell me that they liked it.


My dear mother always told me that my craft was "so professional looking" and friends and family duly liked what I showed them, but I always hoped that someone who really knew, would confirm those sentiments.

Then one day it happened - an editor decided that my original design was worth publishing and so began a decade of my dream coming true and receiving recognition for my stitching. I am so thankful for that lovely editor taking a risk with me and giving me an opening that has gone from strength to strength and been so fulfilling. I am hopeful that there will be a few more years of designing and stitching in the future! 

I called my 200th project "Jumping Through Hoops" and these are very easy hoops to jump through!  The pattern is in Handmade Vol 34 No 12.


Thank you for being part of my journey!

Val

Sunday, May 22, 2016

400 inches of binding!

400 inches of binding is a LOT of binding! 


... eleven width of fabric 2½ inch strips (I'm thankful I could use my Accuquilt Go Cutter to cut them), diagonal cuts to prepare them for joining, stitching the joins, trimming the ears, pressing the seams open, then pressing the binding in half.


Next step was to find a big enough clear floor space to spread the quilt out to measure the binding to see that the joins would not land on a corner. 


Then it was manouevring 10,000 square inches of quilt under the machine to attach the binding.


Of course the bobbin ran out in the middle!


Mitre after mitre, stitch by stitch and around the quilt we journeyed.


Out onto the table to cut the binding and prepare for the final join.
 

By this time I was quite pleased at my progress.


What I hadn't counted on was how long it was going to take me to hand-stitch that binding to the back!


 Yes, I could have done it all by machine but I knew I would not be happy with the result.


So inch after inch, I stitched that binding down - 400 inches of it!


Two nights and five hours later and it was done!


Was it worth it?  Absolutely!


PS Hasn't my quilter done a fabulous job?

Val
 Jinny Beyer quilt design - free Craftsy Class 2015.