Last Minute Christmas Craft

Are you all ready for Christmas? Bought all the gifts? Have you thought about that all important Christmas table and how you will decorate it?

Here's an idea you might like. 

The Merry Mittens Cutlery Holder. 
They are quick and easy to make and are fun and practical. I think they would be a great way of having the children involved helping you make them. They would have fun winding the pom poms too!

You can find the pattern in Handmade magazine, Vol 34 No 4.

and if you don't have access to the magazine, the pattern is in in my Craftsy Store for just US$2. 

There's nothing much else to show you in the way of stitching this week. I've had a sick husband with bronchial pneumonia and I'm very happy to say he has turned the corner and been given the 'all clear' to fly interstate to spend Christmas with our family.  

We've had the usual round of Christmas break-ups and parties. I seem to always land the job of running games and quizzes which is great fun for me with my quirky brain.

It's stone fruit season in Australia which means watching the fruit stalls for good prices so that I can buy in bulk and do some preserving. Nectarines are done:

and a few bottles of sliced peaches:

So far, I've preserved about 29 kilos of stone-fruit which will give us fruit for our breakfast cereal for six months or so. Hopefully after Christmas there will be mangoes and late varieties of stone-fruit available for some more preserving. It's a lot of work over a few short weeks but then we enjoy the benefits throughout the whole year.

Thank you for sticking with me on my blog journey again this year. I have loved having you along for the ride! Don't forget that there are only 11 days left for you to download the free Keys to Contentment wall hanging before it is removed on 31st December.

I will be busy over the next few weeks stitching the 2016 free Block of the Month project for you. Keep an eye out for it in the middle of January.

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas celebrating Jesus, who is the reason for the season and look forward to catching up with you again in the new year.


All is Calm, All is Bright

All is calm, all is bright - I’m rather fond of the Christmas Carol from which this line comes, Silent Night. It has a gentle tune and the words are full of meaning – especially relevant in today’s world that very often is far from being calm and bright.

That’s why I have used this title for these quick and easy Christmas decorations. They are a no-stress quickie and would make a great last-minute gift.

These ornaments need only a few scraps of fabric, a dip into your embellishment tin and a few minutes of calm stitching.

I don’t know why we bother about Christmas mittens in Australia with our hot temperatures, but they are fun to make:

Then of course you need a Christmas Tree to put on your Christmas Tree:

The pattern for these ornaments is in Handmade Magazine Vol 34 No 4.

If you don’t have access to the magazine, then the pattern is in my Craftsy Store for the modest sum of $3. 

While I was in the “uploading patterns to my store” mood, I made the effort and at last my Wildflower Cottage pincushion is there too. You might want to whip one up for a Christmas gift or do some holiday stitching for yourself. 

We have a couple of break-up parties to host or attend this week and one of my jobs is to provide games and puzzles. I’m a puzzle freak so I’ve been organising some Christmas themed fun. I’ve based a couple of puzzles on some Christmas Carols.

With Christmas coming so close, it’s time to remind you to download the 2015 free Block of the Month Keys to Contentment patterns. They are still available and will remain free until 31st December. Download them all here.

Happy stitching!

Cherishing Letters

I love emails! It is so amazing to be able to send a message around the world and quite often receive an immediate response. And it's all done at the desk - not having to get dressed up, find the car keys, drive to the post office, buy a stamp and post the letter.

But there is just something lovely about receiving an old-fashioned letter! We are starting to receive lots of Christmas letters now and we look forward to checking the letterbox to see what surprise is in there each day.

It is in homage to the old snail-mail, that I made my "Cherished Letters" coin purse. It brings a smile to my face when I look at it. I love its cuteness, the redwork, the little bit of lace and the sweet heart dangle.

The pattern is in Handmade Magazine Vol 34 No 4.

My husband and I are back from a wonderful week on Norfolk Island. I have to confess that we didn't even send one postcard!  It is a place of stunning beauty:

interesting flora:

bush birds:

amazing seabirds:

We were thrilled to be able to see some quite close where they were nesting on the clifftops: 

Norfolk is a place of very interesting history:

friendly people, quaint customs and a relaxed way of life.

Reality hit when we arrived home and I stepped out of the car onto our ceiling!  Yes, half the ceiling was on the garage floor.  In a wild storm, our neighbour's trampoline became airborne, landed on our roof, smashed the tiles and the rain poured in. Eventually the ceiling caved in with the weight of water it was trying to hold up!

We are so thankful that an angel directed that trampoline over the garage and not any part of our living area. The only water damage was the ends of a few of our spare mattresses which soon dried in the heat and wind. It could have been so much worse. The Insurance builder came the next day and secured the roof and put battens to hold the ceiling up until it can be repaired properly. We see what the Assessor says tomorrow. 

If you are looking for a quick Christmas gift, I have put the "All the Trimmings" apron pattern in my Craftsy store.  The apron is reversible too, so very practical.

Happy stitching!

Coat Hanger memories

I am rather fond of pretty coat hangers. It all started many decades ago when I was a little tot in primary school. Our school ran a series of Spelling Bees and I won the competition in my grade. The prize was a pretty padded and decorated coat hanger. 

I remember my mother being quite excited about it and it wasn't till I was in my "double figures" that I began to value it. I used it for years and years until finally it ended up being just raggy strips of fabric draped over wood, and it had to go where all coat hangers eventually go!

Over the years I have enjoyed making my own pretty hangers, my favourite probably being this one that I made for a bride earlier in the year:

Most of the ones that are in my own wardrobe were made by my lovely mother. She loved crochet and spent her latter years making exquisite tablecloths, doileys, rugs and coat hanger covers, and I have been the happy recipient of many of them.

A while back I had the urge to make some more fabric covers, and so the sweet and pretty Frou Frou was born:

The pattern has now been published in Patchwork & Stitching Magazine Vol 17 No 2.

If you want to make your own pretty hanger, my Doing Frilly pattern is still available for free. They make lovely gifts with Christmas fast approaching.

Talking of Christmas, I have put another of my Christmas designs in the pattern store. Christmas Chimes Candle mat is a delightful combination of felt, applique and silk ribbon embroidery.
You can see it here.

I'm excited about teaching Hollyhock Cottage at a workshop this week.  

I love it when a design comes together exactly how I want it.

This is a multi-functional folder pattern as it can be made into a needle-case or a tissue holder or a card wallet. 

I hope the ladies enjoy making it!


Christmas - keeping it traditional

I managed to design five new Christmas projects this year. You've seen my apron and oven mitt/trivet set. Then there are some ornaments and a cutlery holder which I'll show you some time. For all of them I decided to stick with traditional red and green this year after diverting to something quite different last year. There is something just so right about the red and green combination.

"All the stockings were hung" is my first ever Christmas Stocking design. While I've made a number of stockings for grandchildren in the past, I've never come up with my own original design till now.

I wanted the embellishments to be three dimensional, and they ended up coming right "off the page". The angel and the gingerbread man are removable and wearable as a brooch or pinned to a bag or however you like to use them during the lead up to Christmas. 

Christmas Eve they can be pinned back onto the stocking ready for the big event!

They have been published in Patchwork & Stitching Magazine, Vol 17 No 1.

I do plan to put the pattern in my Craftsy store early December if you are unable to source the magazine and want to make these gorgeous stockings. The gingerbread man is just the cutest!

I've been trying to make a few more of my patterns available in the store, seeing so many of you tell me that you can't buy our wonderful Australian magazines where you live. Polly finds the Holly oven mitt and trivet set is now available here.

After not ever doing much Christmas sewing previously, I have a little collection of designs now. You can see them on my Christmas page.

My husband and I have been having a couple of small holidays this month. We spent a delightful week away in northern New South Wales pursuing our passion of bird-watching with members of our local club. They were all intrigued with this yarn-bombing which we discovered:

It had been very creatively put together.

Once we arrived back home, the number one focus has been to prepare kits for a workshop I will be teaching in early December. Sure takes time to cut all the fabric, batting, fusible web and package all the embellishments! 

Happy stitching!

The Symphony of Life

I have quite narrow tastes in music. I love classical music, a bit of musical theatre and nothing much else! On special occasions, like our wedding anniversary, my husband and I will go to a Symphony Orchestra Concert, which for me is a fantastic way to celebrate. 

It always amazes me how so many different instruments can all play together to make such a beautiful sound. 

On reflection, I think our life is a Symphony. 

There are so many bits and pieces, joys and sorrows, friends and family that make up one's life.

How we bring it all together can make a beautiful symphony or a terrible cacophony!

The best way I know of expressing this thought is to make a quilt!

Meet my Symphony of Life quilt!

I commissioned my 12 year old grandson to draw the instruments for me, seeing I am a woeful artist and he is exceptionally good, then I added what he calls my "abstract flowery things".

I think he did a fantastic job with the drawings. I just loved turning them into applique and stitching all the details and the words that make up the Symphony.

Homespun Magazine liked it enough to publish it!

It's in their latest edition, November Collector's edition.

It's one of my designs that just makes me smile every time I look at it - definitely my favourite this year! Now I need to work on making my own life a beautiful symphony!

Happy stitching!