Monday 24 March 2014

Handy Hints

Today:  A helpful preparation tip & keeping things clean.

1. Preparing fabric for cutting.  

When I have a lot of fabric to iron ready for a cutting spree, I have found that using an airing rack is a great way of keeping fabric as crease free as possible before using. It also saves finding a spare flat surface to lay the fabric out on.

2. Cleaning cutting mats & ironing board covers.  

A great way to keep these surfaces clean of all those pesky bits of fluff & threads is to use a bathroom loofah/tulle sponge. I keep mine hanging on a handle under the cutting table in easy reach to rub over my cutting board. I have also found it works well on my ironing board as well.

3. Keeping things clean when using fabrics with an iron on adhesive. 

No Matter how hard I try, I get messy with glue (kind of like poor Linus & the dust cloud in Charlie Brown.) I keep an old ironing board cover (elastic removed) rolled up under the ironing board & just unroll that out over my current cover whenever I am working with glued fabrics. 

Tuesday 11 March 2014

Let's Get Stitched - Melbourne 2014

Last weekend, Sam Old Green Pastures  & I travelled to Melbourne to meet up with a group of ladies from every state plus New Zealand, for Let's Get Stitched. They have been meeting for 4 years now in various cities for a fun weekend of shopping, games, talking, laughing & of course stitching.

We had made a Mug Rug for all the ladies to sign, and also had to create a name badge for one of the ladies for a mystery badge swap on the first night. Our Friday night games night also included a charm pack swap game. This photo shows the mug rug I made, name badge Sandra made for me & the charm pack I won on the Friday night.
After drinks & meeting the girls on the Thursday night, we headed out on a bus trip on the Friday. The day included a visit to several patchwork shops (boy can we shop fast).

For our lunch break, we travelled up the mountain to Sassafras.
I managed to pick up some new panel fabric for my baby blocks as well as some other goodies.
Saturday was a free day so we used to time to rest & recharge having a quiet day of snoozing, knitting & snacking in our room.
Sunday was stitching day, such a fun day. The room was set up with goodie bags, a shop corner as well as kits & designs from the 7 designers (the Let's Get Stitched team of Vicki Tucek, Dawn Hay, Fiona Ramsey & Joy Coey along with Jennifer Reynolds, Marilyn Duncan & Vikki Collumbine). Rosalie Quinlan was also our mystery guest for the day.
The team had gone to a lot of trouble to give us a great day.
 Our goodie bags look great, here's what we found inside.
 Sam & I had so much fun stitching, chatting & laughing.

I have already finished my friendship stitchery by Rosalie Quinlan.
Next year the girls will be back but this time in Brisbane, first weekend in March.

Sunday 2 March 2014

Pressing Hems

Over the years I have tried many ways to press hems, from pinning, marking, using small metal gauges but always ended up with sore, hot fingers & if  a narrow hem, it wasn't always neat & even.

This tip works for me & is especially helpful when needing to press a 1/4" (5mm) hem.

1. Stitch a line at exact measurement of where you will do the first turn.

2. The line of stitching makes it easy to roll the hem over & press with the iron without scorching my fingertips.

3. Now roll again using the first pressed edge as a guide & press the hem.

4. Stitch hem in place -this may be with a straight line or a fancier stitch to add an interesting finish.

The folded edge gives a guide for placing hem under machine foot to ensure stitch line is consistently even from edge of fabric.

(I love using my new Osilo Pro Smart Iron, check them out at The Pickledish Patch )

Value of Community

"No man is an island" (John Donne) are immortal words & so very true. We are made for relationship, wired for interaction with others.

Whether it's family, work, school, sporting club, craft group, Scouts/Guides or faith community, we can all be encouraged & supported by others & in turn, encourage & support others.

Yes, community can be messy, people can rub us up the wrong way & even hurt us, but growing together into a strong, supportive community is so very important especially when travelling through challenging seasons. I find life in community enriches my life & expands my world.

Some 'communities' may be for a short season or for a specific purpose only, but we need the support, encouragement & strength from doing life with others. Relationships take work but I have found increasingly over the past few years that the time & effort is so very worth it.

It can be so easy to just hit the remote to open the garage door, drive in & head inside without connecting with our immediate neighbours. Maybe it's been a hard day or you have calls to make but life is so enriched when taking the time to head outside, connect & chat with neighbours. I have the best neighbours, some days it's just a quick wave, or supporting the kids opposite by buying chocolates for the school fundraiser (a legitimate reason for chocolate) or going to swimming lessons when the mum is sick so the toddler doesn't miss out on her time in the pool. My immediate neighbours & I have built relationship over the years & trust each other with spare keys for those dreaded lock out moments, collect mail when travelling or in my case, they have put out the garbage bins every week since breaking my ankle. 
If you, like me, prefer to be a 'doer' (is that a word? - one that 'does', helps others, gets involved) or live on your own & are independent,  it can be very difficult to accept help from others. But I have learnt to let others help - they feel valued, want to bless & quite simply, if they want to help - let them. From cleaning, shopping, meals, washing or visits with coffee I have found these times an encouragement as we share & chat.

 Outside my family, my faith community is my most crucial. Apart from Sunday teaching, worship & fellowship, I attend a weekly bible study where in a more intimate setting can share, be encouraged & accepted by a wonderful group of wise ladies. A closer group also pray for me, cheer me on, take time to sit & listen in those not so great moments & are prepared to challenge me to grow & be the best me I have been created to be.

Over the past few years, I have been delighted that some of the younger women from church want to learn to sew. It's fun watching them gain confidence, plan the next project before finishing the first one & really blessed me far more than I've been able to encourage them.
I have also been abundantly blessed in so many ways from others in our church- one of the young adults  wanting a career in graphic design helped me design my blog header. 
Wen from What's Mummy Up To? has inspired me & spent time helping to set up my blog.
Sam from Old Green Pastures is a constant encourager who speaks possibility over my life. 
Spending time with friends over a casual meal (who needs hours of stressful preparation, take away is actually OK - it's all about the conversation anyway!) in between busy schedules are treasured moments. Last night I spent precious time with friends who live 2 hours away but took the time to come visit for a couple of hours. 

Can I encourage you to "do community" with others? You will find it is worth it.
I'd love to hear your 'community' stories.