Sunday, May 1, 2016

A new take on old embroidery

I quite enjoy watching TV in the evening with my husband, but I could never bear to just sit and watch 'the box.'. I always have to be doing something with my hands! Evening is when I do all my hand-stitching, embroidery, sewing bindings down etc. I find it very relaxing and it's lovely to be sitting with my husband.

The last few weeks have been very busy for me, what with organising a party, many hours spent with our Internet Service Provider trying to get our lost phone line back, medical appointments, a visit to hospital when I hurt my ribs in a fall, plus preparing for a stall that I have been asked to host at the Queensland Quilter's Picnic which this year is being held in our local area.

This means I haven't opened the sewing machine, haven't drawn any new patterns, and don't have any projects to stitch at night. For such a time as this, I have a couple of long-term pieces of needlework that I can stitch, with no pressure whatever to finish. So in the last couple of weeks, this 'Afternoon Teacloth' has come out of hiding:

It was given to me by a friend, brand new in its packet, and is a prestamped linen design just like I used to embroider 40 or 50 years ago! In those days I would have filled in all the flowers and probably the leaves too, mostly with satin stitch. These days the modern 'stitchery' concept is more about outlining. When I looked at this design, I could see that it really needs areas filled in so that there is a focus, otherwise it would be a very open and rather boring picture. However, I didn't want to do lots of satin stitch, which is the obvious choice to fill in some of the petals. My experience with satin stitch these days tends to be one step forward and two steps back as I spend so much time unpicking since my eyesight isn't as good as it used to be!

I'm rather pleased with the substitutes that I have chosen. The purple flowers are outlined in stem stitch then filled in with French Knots. Not every bit of the petals is filled, but there are enough knots to give the impression of solid colour and as a bonus there is some added texture.

For the flower centres, I worked a spiral in stemstitch which filled the space nicely. For the calyx on the bud, there is a backstitched outline with running stitches inside.

Normally I might have worked buttonhole or fly stitch for the leaves, but they had large veins which gave a good coverage inside the leaf. A darker green backstitch, then a running stitch inside the edge gives enough impression of colour to keep it interesting.

The small pink flowers are edged in chain stitch and on some of them I added a stem stitch outside the chain in a lighter or darker pink. So that's my new take on old embroidery. I hope to soon put it back in the cupboard for another 'rainy day' as I have a new pattern floating around and I'm very keen to open my new Valdani threads!

My grandson drew me this lovely echidna - 'Curled up and Content'. I put the stitchery on the front of a needle case. One of my Facebook friends has sent me a photo of one she has stitched and placed on the front of a bag. 

The pattern is in Patchwork & Stitching magazine, Vol 17 No 8:

I've put a couple of new patterns in my Craftsy Store:

 Don't get my Tail Wet here

and Black Beauty quilt here.

I'm hoping to tick a lot more jobs and appointments off the list this week so that I can finally get back to opening the sewing machine and putting pencil to paper for a new design! I'm so thankful that finally our phone issue has been sorted out. It was rather weird calling our home phone number and it being answered by a complete stranger!!! It took 22 days, 14 phone calls and 264 minutes of hanging on the end of the mobile phone, so you can imagine the relief to finally have our home phone working again. I'm sure it was an answer to prayer as I asked two people specifically to pray about our problem last week and within a couple of days we had results! Should have done that three weeks ago!!!


Sunday, April 24, 2016

Quick cutlery holder

At our 50th wedding anniversary party last week, we had a sit-down dinner in our home with some of our friends. We had three tables to accommodate 25 of us. Rather than trying to put lots of dishes on the tables and passing them around between three tables so that everyone could help themselves, I decided to lay them out on our servery. That way, everyone could walk past and serve themselves from each dish and then sit wherever they liked at the tables.

I thought it would be easier if the cutlery was also available from the servery. I was going to wrap the knives and forks in the serviettes but I have seen cutlery slipping out or people dropping them using this method, so I wanted to come up with something that was a bit more substantial.

My answer was a wallet to hold the serviette and knife and fork. They were super easy to make. I used some pretty cards that were already scored for folding. They measure 15 x 21 cm (6 x 8¼ inches):

I cut them on the fold line to give two cutlery holders out of each card, then folded them again in half lengthwise. I used the back of the cutting knife to score the card lightly which made them easy to fold:

Then it was over to the sewing machine to sew down the side and across the lower edge. (Reminder to self: Change the needle before you start the next project. It won't be very sharp after all that cardboard sewing!)

Then it was on to the serviette folding. I folded it diagonally to give me a centre crease line, then opened it up and folded the side edge into the centre crease:

The other side was then folded to the centre crease to match:

 All it needed then was to fold the side again into the centre:

and the other side to match:

Then they could all be popped into their cutlery holder:

I stood them up in a pretty pot and had some sweet comments about how great and practical they were ... and they looked good too!

After all the party preparations, it was lovely to spend a relaxing week away with our local bird-watching club enjoying the wonderful Australian bush, with plenty of sunshine and lots of birds that we don't normally see, so no sewing to show you!

PS - Photo at the top is our second Anniversary Cake - we know how to celebrate!!!


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Free Block of the Month Wall Quilt - Pattern 4

April is such a beautiful month. The weather is always pleasant, I have a birthday and we were married in April! It's also a good month to give you Block 4 in the
free Block of the Month Wall Quilt 

This month's verse has plenty of challenge:

You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought. 
Matthew 5:5

Our verse shows where true blessing is - being content with who we are, not claiming our so-called “rights” and being prepared to live in humility. Another translation of our verse says it all:

“Happy are those who claim nothing, for the whole earth will belong to them! 

The pattern is available for download in my Craftsy Store here.

We had a big celebration last weekend with lots of our family together for a double celebration - my birthday and our 50th Golden Wedding Anniversary!

I received so many beautiful flowers:

carnations ... roses ...

lilies ...

Our daughter made us a beautiful Cake:

We then had another party with 25 of our friends, received congratulations from the State Premier, the Governor of Queensland and the Prime Minister of Australia, and feel as though we have really celebrated a momentous occasion.

I am truly blessed to have loved and been loved by such a wonderful husband.


and now!

Thanks for being part of our journey!


Sunday, April 3, 2016

The wait is over!

The wait is over! After 7½ weeks, I have my sewing machine back from the technician! Thankfully, unlike the last two years, it even seems to be working well and I haven't found any reason to have to take it back yet! Happy!

I have had two days to play with the Bernina so have started on my pile of prepared bits and pieces. I pieced a patchwork cushion top which is now ready to be assembled:

Its twin sister has had machine blanket-stitch worked around the appliques: 

I've begun work on the straight-line quilting on a lap quilt:

Wouldn't you know it, I have a busy week coming up, so I guess I won't get too much done, but that's OK as it's comforting just to have my machine back in its cabinet, so I'm still smiling!

Not all has been lost over the last two months, as I have used the time to expand my stitching armoury. I have always loved working with felt but in the past have mostly used stranded thread for the stitching embellishments. Lately I have been experimenting with Perle threads and have fallen in love with them again. 

 I have used them many times in the past for crochet and hardanger, but it's a new experience to have such wonderful texture with these lovely thick threads on felt. I think I'm hooked!

Here is one of my table runners that I haven't shown you. It's called Raspberry Sherbet and it was one of the first projects I designed in my EQ7 quilting software. It really is great seeing what a design is going to look like before you actually start cutting fabric:

It was recently published in Handmade magazine Vol 34 No 9.

April is our month for family. We had some here today and will have quite a few more next weekend for some special celebrations! Tell you more next time!


Sunday, March 27, 2016

The New for Old Policy

In all our years of married life, I can't remember having to make a Home & Contents claim on an Insurance company apart from when the motor burnt out in our freezer. So, going through the process of making a damage claim when the neighbour's airborne trampoline crashed on our house has been a totally new experience.

I really had no idea how a New for Old policy worked. It seems obvious, but what happens in reality? Our experience - Only half the ceiling in the garage was wrecked, but they pulled the whole lot off and gave us a brand new ceiling and cornices. Only the new work needed painting, but they painted the whole garage, walls included. 

One panel on our large patio roof was damaged, and you guessed it, on Thursday they replaced the whole roof with brand spanking new roofing! Needless to say, we are very happy with our Insurance Company!

I've been thinking about this in the light of Easter and I'm ever so thankful that God has a New for Old policy too! He's in the business of making everything new ... and it's all possible because of what Jesus accomplished in His death and resurrection. I'm very happy with God's policy too!!!

We're having a very quiet Easter without family, as they will be travelling to us in a couple of weeks. It's quiet in the sewing room too, as there is still no Bernina in sight. I had hoped it might be back with me by Easter ... sigh!

That means it's a good time to put some more of my patterns in my Craftsy Store.

Dancing in the Rain bag here:

Frou Frou Coat Hanger frocks here:

and Life is a Symphony here:

 I've also drawn up a couple of new designs and have already finished one of them. Not only did it not need a sewing machine, but it was actually much easier to hand-stitch. Maybe I should think more creatively in future and make more 'non sewing machine' projects!

Happy Easter!