Wishes ....


I hopped on the scales this morning and was soon wishing I hadn't indulged so much over Christmas! Our celebrations go on for a whole week with our family around us - lots of delightful food and fun, but not so good for the waistline!

Maybe my indulgence should have stayed with the fabric type.  My latest design in Country Threads magazine Vol 14 Issue 10 definitely won't put the kilos on:


It's a set of four placemats called "Chocolate Delight" - eye candy without the weight gain! The fabric I have used is called "Double Chocolat" by 3 Sisters, so I really had to produce a design focussing on Chocolate, didn't I?


I've made a few designs using this gorgeous fabric range and at the moment I'm using up all the bits and pieces left over from the layer cake in a lovely wall hanging.  It's the design I prepared earlier so that I had some hand-stitching to do while my sewing room (and the rest of the house) is filled with beds! We still have 15 of our family in the house so there's plenty of noise and activity!

It's stone fruit season in Australia so I bought a case of plums and have preserved them so we can enjoy them throughout the year.


Next thing on the wish list is preserving some apricots and peaches.

One of my wishes that my lovely husband fulfilled for me is this beautiful ring that he gave me for Christmas:


I am blessed!

My wish for you is that you have a happy New Year and many blessings in 2014.

Val





Ready for Christmas?


I think I'm just about ready for Christmas! My presents are wrapped, the shopping is done and the baking is complete (apart from the roast turkey dinner on the big day). 


Yesterday we organised mattresses, sheets, pillows, blankets, and towels for all our guests. Then we cleaned all our spare chairs, extra cutlery and crockery and counted everything twice to make sure that we had enough for everyone - now 23 of us on Christmas Day. I think we're organised - just a couple of last minute bits and pieces to do before the first six of our family arrive tomorrow.

I've been thinking also about being ready for Christmas "on the inside". It's a bit rude having all the celebrations for Jesus' birthday, and then not giving him the place of honour!  So, one of the first things we will do on Christmas Day, is to attend a Church Service where we can focus on Jesus, who is the reason for the season. 

Christmas usually means parcels, and among those that arrived in the post this week was the lovely Patchwork and Quilting magazine (Vol 23/4) along with my Tranquillity project.  


We have been blessed to live near the water for 26 years of our married life and I never tire of seeing our beautiful Australian Black Swans. I just had to applique one on this wall-hanging in the paper-cuts style:


I can never resist the lure of oriental fabrics and love the colours in the butterfly border:


I decided I liked this wall-hanging so much that it was going on our wall instead of being hidden away in a crate.

Now for a reminder!  
My 2013 Apples of Gold free block of the month quilt will be removed on 31st December.  All the patterns are available until then, so hurry and download yours before it's too late!

Elizabeth has already completed her quilt!  Doesn't it look great:


My sewing machine is back from the technician already.  Happy!  I will now be able to do some more work on the 2014 free Block of the Month quilt.  Hopefully it will be ready to be launched mid January!

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas with your family and friends and that in the midst of all the celebrations you have time to ponder God's amazing gift.

Happy Christmas!
Blessings,
Val

On being left-brained


Just for fun, I did a couple of left-brain/right-brain tests recently. Some scientists are saying that it is all a myth, but I always come out way over to the side of the left brain - logical, analytical, objective, focussed on details, rules, languages, words.  "My world runs like clockwork - perfectly organized and systematic, with everything done on time" says one result. My family will tell you that that is me!


Where does that leave creativity and being artistic which is the focus of the right-brain? Apparently, I may not have been in the right queue when that was handed out! Oh well, maybe the logical, strategic approach helps me somehow with my designs!  

I like to think this one in Embroidery, Cross Stitch & Beyond Vol 21/5 is artistic!  I called it "A Millinery Moment" :


I guess the eye for detail that comes with being left-brained helps in the design process: 


None of the tests say anything about loving roses!!!


 I love being organised!  My sewing machine and overlocker are going in to be serviced tomorrow and won't be back for two weeks. How can I bear to be separated from my machine for that long?  I figured that with 22 people in the house over Christmas, I wouldn't get any sewing done anyway, so it's a good time to be separated from my lifeline!  However, the last two or three days I have had the machine running hot preparing a wall quilt which now needs a lot of hand-stitching, so I am all set up if by chance I do get a moment to stitch.

I surprised myself last week and accomplished heaps more than I expected.  Three new designs are now complete, the yard had a good tidy up, the Christmas pudding was made and I wrapped lots of Christmas presents. I'm always happy when I can cross off lots from the "to do" list!


My Four weeks of Christmas Giving is finished, but the little Christmas Gift Bag below is always available. You might like to whip this up quickly as an alternative to throw-away Christmas paper.  You can download it from my Free pattern page.


This week's "to do" list includes some Christmas shopping, more Christmas cooking and stitching on the new free Block of the Month I have planned for you for 2014. Then I'll have to work out where 10 extra people in the house are going to sleep! (Of course I have it already worked out - just need to get all the mattresses in place!)

Till next time,
Val


Free Pattern for Christmas Giving - Week 4

Here is our free pattern for this week -
The Butterfly in my Garden Bag


There is a lovely stitchery on the front:


and quilted butterflies on the back:


The handles are embroidered with butterflies and flowers: 


The pattern is available for one week here.

I hope you've enjoyed our little giveaway of the four free patterns. Please send me a photo if you've used one of the patterns - I would love to see your version.

Some of my favourite things to design are stitching accessories - Needlecases, pincushion, scissor keeps, sewing compendiums, tape measure covers. You can see some of my collection here.

One of my recently published designs is the Enchanted Joy set.


It's in the current beautiful Embroidery, Cross Stitch and Beyond magazine Vol 21 No 5:


My favourite - the tape measure:


I love the gold beading around the edge:


I had a good sewing week, completing one project, making a big dent in two others and making myself a simple skirt. Remind me next time I get the bright idea of sewing with chiffon not to! 


It's ages since I've sewn with fabric that isn't cotton and it was a big shock to have fabric slipping and sliding all over the place. Sewing with 100% pure cotton is such a pleasure after that! Anyway, I was happy with the skirt and wore it this morning with a lovely Aqua top.

Another job I ticked off last week was our Christmas letter - it's written and circulated. Next job is to make the Christmas pudding. I've been waiting for weeks for the butcher to obtain suet and finally I now have some. Our really traditional pudding is a recipe handed down through quite a few generations in our family. It features here on this design. Then I had better start thinking about presents!

Have a great week.
Val

Free Pattern for Christmas Giving - Week 3


This week I have another free pattern for you - 
the Persian Rose Cushion.

It measures 14 inches square and is very
quick to make:


 It has a Broderie Perse centre on the scalloped
appliqué, so is a great way to feature one of your pretty fabrics:



I hope you like it and enjoy making it.  You can download the pattern here. It will be available for one week and then will be replaced with the last design in our Free Patterns for Christmas Giving.

I attended four parties this week so lots of fun and very little project sewing.  The crochet hook worked overtime for a couple of weeks while I made some snowflake decorations.  They were just the perfect 'neighbour' gifts:

You can find the patterns here:

I whipped up some travel tissue cases.  I found the plain check/chevron ones were appreciated by the males who received them. The ladies liked the pretty ones!

They were super quick and easy to make:
twobrownbirds.typepad.com/two-brown-birds/free-pattern-ahhtishoo-travel-tissue-cover.html

I was debating how to wrap the parcels and went searching for something a bit different. This lovely site shares the pattern for gifts bags which I made from origami paper:  practicallyfunctional.com/paper-gift-bags-free-silhouette-download/

Christmas is coming fast!  I've bought the Turkey and the Ham,  thought about the Pudding, and started writing our Christmas letter. I'm dragging my feet getting the Tree out of storage. There aren't any children here yet, so there's no-one to goad me into action! If you haven't set up your nativity scene yet, here is an absolutely fabulous free printable:

The children would love helping you with this. 
While you're there, have a look at their Children's magazine - a subscription would make a wonderful Christmas gift that lasts the whole year.

Enjoy your week.
Regards
Val