There's no place like home

Hubby and I have been on a two week holiday adventure. Some of the adventures were planned but others weren't! Along with nine of our friends, we hopped on the train for our 1600 kilometer journey to Cairns. It's a long way, but we really enjoy train travel with its spacious leg room, dining car and plenty of room to walk around. And at the princely sum of $25 each way, thanks to the Government gift, it sure is a great way to travel!


We get on so well with the others in the group and it was wonderful to spend a week with caring friends, seeing the wonders of our amazing country - beautiful beaches like the one above at Palm Cove.

Lush rain forests: 



Metallic starlings building their communal nests:



The turquoise water of the Great Barrier Reef:


A Bush Stone-Curlew nesting in a Park right in the centre of town:


On the trip back, we spent a great week with our younger daughter and her family with a few surprise celebrations thrown in. We had an early Christmas with them and included some gifts I had made. Now that plastic bags are a thing of the past in our State, I made some shoe travel bags for them.


They're definitely nicer than plastic bags!


They were colour-coded for family preferences!


I think they are a great way to separate shoes from the rest of the packing.




One of our unplanned adventures was trying to get home again! Travel was severely disrupted because of catastrophic fires throughout Queensland. We eventually arrived home a day late, with the trip taking 7 hours longer than normal. God looked after us amazingly - the train we were originally booked on was held up for 15 hours, so we were thankful to avoid the 29 hours sitting around on that journey. Other services were replaced by Coach so we were also glad we didn't have to endure that with their comparatively small seats and nowhere to walk around. Then of course we were delighted to spend another day with our family ... and even did all the washing so that we came home with clean clothes! The holiday was wonderful, but there sure is no place like home!

The focus for me this week is a stall I am sharing at the Abbey Museum Open Day and Boutique Christmas Markets next Saturday near Caboolture.  Come and say hello if you live nearby! 

Val

When life gets in the way

You know what it's like when 'Life gets in the way', well that has been happening around here. Every time I think I will write a blog post, something seems to get in the way. Last week it was when Windows 10 decided to upgrade hubby's computer and promptly removed EVERYTHING except his data - not a programme left, no emails, NOTHING! 

After three hours with Microsoft Technical Support, two technicians remotely accessing our computer couldn't do anything about it and their answer was for me to take the computer to the nearest Microsoft Store. They kindly arranged a one-on-one appointment for the technician in the store to look at it the next day. Only problem was the store was 1000 kilometres away from where I live!!! It would cost more in airfares for me to get there than to buy a new computer!

There was nothing for it but for me to reinstall all the lost gear. Eight hours later, with prayer and a bit of patience, I had it all back together, email set up, bookmarks imported, and programmes working ... but I didn't get a blog post written!


Since last I wrote, I have taught at the Creative Craft Retreat. It was organised a bit differently this year and instead of teaching one large project over the whole weekend, I taught three small two-hour workshops. The ladies did well with their Christmas Bell. You can find the free pattern for it on my Free Pattern page.


Another class was the Christmas Door Hanger, which is a variation of another of my free patterns. (See the original on the free pattern page).


 Then we had fun making a Christmas Pudding Bauble. This pattern is available for purchase in my Craftsy Store. It is a real bargain at only $US2 and so easy to make.

 My tomato plants bore profusely this year. The egg tomato plants were store-bought but the cherry tomatoes were all self sown. We used hundreds and gave away heaps.



Some heavy rain knocked off quite a few green tomatoes, so of course they turned into Green Tomato Relish. I had a recipe which I tweaked with my own guesstimate of spices and it turned out with just the perfect balance of sweet, sour, salt and spice.


I even made some tomato jam as I still had so many to use up!

Hubby and I are going on a train journey soon. It's a 24 hour journey of 1600 kilometres to Cairns and we're travelling with 10 friends from our Church. There are lots of great excursions planned while we're there. We return a week later and Hubby and I are breaking our journey half way home to spend time with our daughter and her family. During the daytime part of our trips I am teaching two ladies how to do Silk Ribbon embroidery. This is the design I have planned for them.



It's going to be a fun way to spend our travelling time. I hadn't done any silk ribbon embroidery for a while and I had forgotten just how much I enjoy it and how quickly it comes together. Definitely have some plans for some more!

Happy stitching!
Val

Petals and Points

I have no pretensions that I am a great 'patchworker'; I find it difficult to have my points just right, which is not so easy to live with when you are a perfectionist! So it's always a challenge when  I make a project that doesn't have embroidery on it, and basically it is just all about the patchwork. I was so pleased with these cushions that I actually called them "Petals and Points" - well I did include a little bit of appliqué!
This Cushion Pair was published last year. The red fabric used in this design was given to me by a friend some time ago and it sat in the cupboard waiting for just the right project. I wanted to draw attention to the richness and elegance of the fabric so added the black and cream elements. The additional hint of green softens the whole effect.

I have finally put the pattern in my Craftsy Store and it's a bargain, because you receive two patterns for the price of one. 
You can find the patterns here.

I have had fun making some new Pinterest Pins of my designs. Here's one for this project.  What do you think?


With the demise of all but one of the eight magazines that used to publish my designs (and the one that is left has sacked its staff and has reduced its publication to just six a year), I thought I would have lots of time on my hands.


It hasn't quite worked out like that, as I have taken on the role of Secretary of our Church! It's not a huge job, but has filled a fair part of any gaps that were in my life!


However, I try not to work in the evenings, and so there are a few leisurely hours for hand-stitching and it's amazing how much one can accomplish in front of the TV!


Pincushions and scissor-keeps are easily accomplished in an evening or two so there are now a few additions to the Craft Stall I will have at the Creative Craft Retreat in a couple of weeks.

Do you like the cast-on stitch I did around the outside of the butterfly? My favourite Palestrina Knot stitch is worked around the inner wings.

   

I am so much more relaxed away from those Patchwork Points!

Happy stitching!
Val

Enchanted with Toadstools


I’m not really sure where my fascination with toadstools began, but they have enchanted me for a long time. 
 

I love spotting them on our bush walks, drawing them, embroidering them, photographing them, appliquéing them and looking at their amazing designs. 


I guess some of the captivation began with the delightful ‘fairy-rings’ I learned about in my childhood. We didn’t have actual rings of fungi in our lawn, but I was allowed to pick certain flowers out of our garden and make my own ring for the fairies, complete with a little throne for the Fairy Queen! That’s one of the fondest memories of my happy and innocent childhood. 


And I am still playing with toadstools! I showed you my Enchanting Forest Cushion when it was first published in Homespun Magazine, but I have now put the pattern in my Craftsy Store. You can find it here.


As you know, I LOVE playing with felt, and then to combine it with some lovely textured stitches, is the ultimate joy for me. Palestrina Knot stitch features heavily; it is so easy to do, lots of fun and gives quite a unique finish to any edge. 


We had a lovely holiday recently, filled with things we love. We flew to Broome, an amazing place that had been on our bucket list for a long time, to attend a Bird Congress. We spent two days listening to amazing presentations, then two days of field trips viewing thousands upon thousands of migratory shorebirds. Next on the list of things we love was spending time with our grandson, his wife and our great-granddaughter in Darwin. 


We were only home for a week or so, and our son and daughter-in-law flew from Melbourne to spend some time with us. To add to the delight, our other son and his family visited, then we caught up with another grand-daughter and her husband over dinner last night. When you add in Skype calls from our two daughters, you can see we have had a month of pure bliss! 

Needless to say, not much has been happening on the sewing front, but I did manage to crochet around the edge of a couple of pincushions I had embroidered.


...and yet another toadstool!


Happy stitching!
Val

Quilters Meet and Greet ... a fabulous Prize

Hello to all my blog friends and a special welcome to new visitors who are participating in the fabulous Quilters' Meet and Greet in September.


I am an Australian patchwork, embroidery and quilt designer and love to design projects that are useful and beautiful.


 More than 200 of my designs have been published in craft magazines and my patterns are available for purchase in my Craftsy Store. 


I hope you'll enjoy browsing through my designs - you will see the headings of my pages in my side bar. If you like what you read and see, you are invited to follow my blog to see my regular posts.


Now, whether you are one of my old friends or a new visitor, as a reward for coming to visit me, you may have one free entry into the amazing Great Grand Prize associated with the Quilters' Meet and Greet Party. Have a look at the amazing prize - it's a parcel of goodies anyone would love to win!


The winner will be chosen October 1st, so you have plenty of time to visit lots of amazing quilters. Every blog you visit during the Meet and Greet Party gives you a chance to have another entry for the Great Grand Prize.

You will find the links to lots of wonderful quilters
here.


I'm off to meet and greet!

Happy stitching,
Val