Saturday 30 August 2014

Gifts and Projects

I recently had a day of finishing some overdue gifts and trying out some new patterns and tutorials I've come across over the past few months, trying to clear up my desk and 'to do' pile in the sewing room.

Last December I gave Sam this red work stitchery (A Red Brolly design) for her birthday letting her choose how she wanted it made up. As her business is called Four Red Hens, this pattern seemed so very appropriate.
She asked for a hanging and it has sat in my craft room for the past 8 months until I found the perfect fabric to frame it. So very thankful for her patience in waiting for the finished gift.

When we met all the wonderful crafters in Melbourne at Let's Get Stitched, several of them had gorgeous project bags they'd made following Marilyn's tutorial on her Mardi Meanderings blog. I have been wanting to try making one ever since and finally got around to it. Let me say, an easy to follow tutorial and this won't be the only one I'll be making - already planning some in different sizes and fabrics. This one is a gift for Sam as she has gone above and beyond playing nurse and driver as I've had another trip to hospital. (Thinking I might whip up some chocolate fudge for the men in her family who let her come visit and help me out.) The small red floral fabric was a gift to Sam on that same weekend from one of the other ladies, the blue from my stash matches in really well.

While watching a you tube video the other day I spied one from the Missouri Star Quilt Co for Chicken pin cushions. So, whilst I had the red spot out to frame the chook stitchery, I whipped one of them up from the left over pieces. After a slight hiccup where I attached the tail feather to the wrong side, I had it done in no time. I chose to embroider the eyes on this one. I can also see some of these filled with rice and cloves to keep in the kitchen as an ant deterrent. Seeing as it's a chook and red, thinking this pincushion will also go live at Sam's and Four Red Hens.
A few nights later I whipped up another one, so quick, easy & lots of fun.

I also took the opportunity to plan ahead and whip up this table centre for a 90th birthday gift. The birthday girl is a sewer herself, a wonderful mother in the house of our church and I was so thrilled to be included in the birthday celebrations. Whilst she asked for a donation to charity in lieu of a gift, I just wanted to make something pretty especially for her.

All in all, a productive and enjoyable day of sewing with a slightly smaller pile of 'to do' projects on my sewing table.

Saturday 23 August 2014

Redwork Challenge

I recently signed up for a red work challenge through an online craft group - each person was matched with others in the group based on which country we lived in. The organiser sent out the list of names & without knowing our connection, she had matched me with my great friend & business partner Sam from Four Red Hens!
We could make anything we wanted for our swap partner as long as it included some red work.
Putting on my thinking cap, I settled upon the idea of making Sam a craft bag to pop her crochet, knitting or stitching in for taking with her when out & about. The choice for each part of the bag also conveys special meaning reflecting the journey Sam & I have been on in the past year as we spend time crafting & doing life together.
I chose the red work stitchery pattern from a little book (When A Bird Sings - Barbara Smith designs 2012) I picked up when we travelled to Melbourne earlier this year for our Let's Get Stitched weekend. The choice of thread was easy, we are both loving the Cherry Blossom colour from Cottage Garden Threads (wonderful hand dyed threads from right here is Australia).
After finishing the stitching I auditioned several fabrics to construct the bag. Another easy choice - the outer fabric is one of Rosalie Quinlan's - another favourite designer & reminder of our time at Urban Stitches. Both the outer & lining fabric were purchased at our local patchwork shop, Kim Bradley Creations.
Inside I added some pockets for crochet hooks & scissors, just enough of the outer fabric strips left to cut to size for the pockets.

 I also added a crocheted granny square to the back of the bag - a reminder of our recent fun afternoon learning crochet (love how it compliments the pattern of the fabric too) at Kim's shop.

A few hours later & a snazzy little craft bag ready for Sam.

Saturday 16 August 2014

Rest & Be Held

 These past few years were not in my plan & have been rather a challenge.
There have been times when I have been overwhelmed by all I am facing & yet I am conscious I am not dealing with the heartaches or pains others are facing.

What do you do when plans come unstuck? Life throws you a curve ball? There seems no end to the season of pain/grief/hurt/loss...(place your word here..) you appear stuck in. In no way have I always navigated these past years well, there have been tears, questions, anger, frustration (you get it? just being honest here),

One thing I do know is that God loves me, He has never given up on me, cares for me & has a plan for my life.

Music is one way I am soothed & connect with the many promises of a loving God. My favourite group is Casting Crowns, the words of their songs full of the promises, hopes & truths of God.

This song,  Just Be Held is from their latest album "Thrive" & the words have brought comfort & encouragement. Why not take a moment to listen, I hope they encourage you in whatever season you are in.

 I also find encouragement from the promises from within God's word to us. The verse above from Ezekiel was part of a sermon a few weeks ago & was timely to a situation I was facing that very week.

 This one was from a daily devotion, a wonderful reminder of God's love & care for each of us.

 Can I encourage to take time, pop on some music, meditate, pray, reflect, just draw aside from whatever it is you are facing ........... just REST & BE HELD.

Saturday 9 August 2014

Dreamers Market August 2014

Today was another wonderful day at Dreamers Markets in Parramatta. The wonderful Dreamers Team do an amazing job in planning and organising the day. Each stall only offers quality handmade items, all made by the stall holders themselves who are on hand to chat with customers about the process or materials used.

These markets have now been operating for a few years and continue to go from strength to strength. Sam from Four Red Hens and I love these markets. We have several returning customers and each market meet new people who are thrilled to have discovered such a market exists locally.

It was a great day with a constant stream of customers. The venue is ideal, set in the atrium area of Parramatta Riverside Theatre. If you are looking for quality, unique, handmade gifts or items for the home these markets are not to be missed.
The next market will be on Saturday November 1st and will be the Christmas Market. Mark the date in your diary, a great day out and opportunity to do some early Christmas Shopping.
You can also check out the Dreamers Facebook page to be kept up to date on market news or see pictures of different artists work that will be available at each upcoming market.

Saturday 2 August 2014

Camden Quilt Show

Today Sam & I had an outing to Camden Quilt Show - just the thing on a sunny yet cool winters day.
In spite of a detour to avoid an accident, the Sat Nav deciding to send us in the opposite direction to where we were heading then asking us to turn right into a paddock before deciding it didn't want to communicate with us & our mental picture of where we were going not actually where we were heading, we made it!

 The show was in an old village hall, a wonderful setting for displaying all the quilts.

There were lots of wonderful quilts of a high standard, several stalls to stock up on supplies including our 2 favourites - Fabric Direct & Kim Bradley Creations. 
I also had some yummy homemade pumpkin soup followed by a scone for lunch. 
Here is just a few of the quilts we saw.

We had a great time catching up with Eve and her mum Debbie, the fabulous duo from Fabric Direct. Don't you just love all the deliciousness on their stall, I love buying from their website.

Here are the two quilts Debbie had made for her grand-daughters on display in the show.

We also stopped by Kim Bradley's Creations  (our very own local quilt shop with a stall at the show) to chat to Kim & Dave - I even managed to find some fabric on her stall I missed seeing in the shop when I was there last week.

After shopping, viewing the quilts & our yummy lunch we headed back home - thankfully a much shorter trip than on the way.  The quilt show was well worth the drive in the country (thanks to Sam for driving & discovering the show was on.)

Back to sewing now - still some stitching to do ready for Dreamer's Markets next Saturday. If you're free pop on down to Parramatta Riverside Theatre to say hi.