Sunday, April 24, 2016

Quick cutlery holder

At our 50th wedding anniversary party last week, we had a sit-down dinner in our home with some of our friends. We had three tables to accommodate 25 of us. Rather than trying to put lots of dishes on the tables and passing them around between three tables so that everyone could help themselves, I decided to lay them out on our servery. That way, everyone could walk past and serve themselves from each dish and then sit wherever they liked at the tables.


I thought it would be easier if the cutlery was also available from the servery. I was going to wrap the knives and forks in the serviettes but I have seen cutlery slipping out or people dropping them using this method, so I wanted to come up with something that was a bit more substantial.


My answer was a wallet to hold the serviette and knife and fork. They were super easy to make. I used some pretty cards that were already scored for folding. They measure 15 x 21 cm (6 x 8¼ inches):


I cut them on the fold line to give two cutlery holders out of each card, then folded them again in half lengthwise. I used the back of the cutting knife to score the card lightly which made them easy to fold:


Then it was over to the sewing machine to sew down the side and across the lower edge. (Reminder to self: Change the needle before you start the next project. It won't be very sharp after all that cardboard sewing!)


Then it was on to the serviette folding. I folded it diagonally to give me a centre crease line, then opened it up and folded the side edge into the centre crease:


The other side was then folded to the centre crease to match:


 All it needed then was to fold the side again into the centre:


and the other side to match:


Then they could all be popped into their cutlery holder:


I stood them up in a pretty pot and had some sweet comments about how great and practical they were ... and they looked good too!

After all the party preparations, it was lovely to spend a relaxing week away with our local bird-watching club enjoying the wonderful Australian bush, with plenty of sunshine and lots of birds that we don't normally see, so no sewing to show you!

PS - Photo at the top is our second Anniversary Cake - we know how to celebrate!!!

Val

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Free Block of the Month Wall Quilt - Pattern 4

April is such a beautiful month. The weather is always pleasant, I have a birthday and we were married in April! It's also a good month to give you Block 4 in the
free Block of the Month Wall Quilt 



This month's verse has plenty of challenge:

You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought. 
Matthew 5:5


Our verse shows where true blessing is - being content with who we are, not claiming our so-called “rights” and being prepared to live in humility. Another translation of our verse says it all:

“Happy are those who claim nothing, for the whole earth will belong to them! 


The pattern is available for download in my Craftsy Store here.

We had a big celebration last weekend with lots of our family together for a double celebration - my birthday and our 50th Golden Wedding Anniversary!

I received so many beautiful flowers:


carnations ... roses ...


lilies ...


Our daughter made us a beautiful Cake:




We then had another party with 25 of our friends, received congratulations from the State Premier, the Governor of Queensland and the Prime Minister of Australia, and feel as though we have really celebrated a momentous occasion.

I am truly blessed to have loved and been loved by such a wonderful husband.

Then:


and now!

Thanks for being part of our journey!

Val


Sunday, April 3, 2016

The wait is over!

The wait is over! After 7½ weeks, I have my sewing machine back from the technician! Thankfully, unlike the last two years, it even seems to be working well and I haven't found any reason to have to take it back yet! Happy!

I have had two days to play with the Bernina so have started on my pile of prepared bits and pieces. I pieced a patchwork cushion top which is now ready to be assembled:


Its twin sister has had machine blanket-stitch worked around the appliques: 


I've begun work on the straight-line quilting on a lap quilt:


Wouldn't you know it, I have a busy week coming up, so I guess I won't get too much done, but that's OK as it's comforting just to have my machine back in its cabinet, so I'm still smiling!

Not all has been lost over the last two months, as I have used the time to expand my stitching armoury. I have always loved working with felt but in the past have mostly used stranded thread for the stitching embellishments. Lately I have been experimenting with Perle threads and have fallen in love with them again. 


 I have used them many times in the past for crochet and hardanger, but it's a new experience to have such wonderful texture with these lovely thick threads on felt. I think I'm hooked!


Here is one of my table runners that I haven't shown you. It's called Raspberry Sherbet and it was one of the first projects I designed in my EQ7 quilting software. It really is great seeing what a design is going to look like before you actually start cutting fabric:


It was recently published in Handmade magazine Vol 34 No 9.


April is our month for family. We had some here today and will have quite a few more next weekend for some special celebrations! Tell you more next time!

Val

Sunday, March 27, 2016

The New for Old Policy

In all our years of married life, I can't remember having to make a Home & Contents claim on an Insurance company apart from when the motor burnt out in our freezer. So, going through the process of making a damage claim when the neighbour's airborne trampoline crashed on our house has been a totally new experience.

I really had no idea how a New for Old policy worked. It seems obvious, but what happens in reality? Our experience - Only half the ceiling in the garage was wrecked, but they pulled the whole lot off and gave us a brand new ceiling and cornices. Only the new work needed painting, but they painted the whole garage, walls included. 

One panel on our large patio roof was damaged, and you guessed it, on Thursday they replaced the whole roof with brand spanking new roofing! Needless to say, we are very happy with our Insurance Company!


I've been thinking about this in the light of Easter and I'm ever so thankful that God has a New for Old policy too! He's in the business of making everything new ... and it's all possible because of what Jesus accomplished in His death and resurrection. I'm very happy with God's policy too!!!

We're having a very quiet Easter without family, as they will be travelling to us in a couple of weeks. It's quiet in the sewing room too, as there is still no Bernina in sight. I had hoped it might be back with me by Easter ... sigh!

That means it's a good time to put some more of my patterns in my Craftsy Store.

Dancing in the Rain bag here:


Frou Frou Coat Hanger frocks here:


and Life is a Symphony here:


 I've also drawn up a couple of new designs and have already finished one of them. Not only did it not need a sewing machine, but it was actually much easier to hand-stitch. Maybe I should think more creatively in future and make more 'non sewing machine' projects!

Happy Easter!
Val

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Down at the Pond

When we planned to move back to our home State of Queensland five years ago, we knew we would be happy, but never dreamed of how perfect our location would be for us in our retired lifestyle. Everything we need and love is at our fingertips - 200 metres walk to great medical services, shops nearby, the beach a short walk away, parks and conservation areas in abundance, 150 species of birds to be seen and enjoyed. We are thankful everyday for the blessings of living in such a delightful location.


Some of our favourite delights are our Ponds just two houses down the road. Our morning stroll around the water rarely fails to bring us pleasure - a Rakali darting under the bridge to its burrow, a Moorhen keeping a close eye on her four chicks, an Egret showing off its beautiful breeding plumage, a Darter drying its wings. 


You can see how easy it was for me to be inspired to make my "Down at the Pond" quilt.


There's always beautiful butterflies flitting by:


and their cousins, the dragonflies:


Some days the frogs are quite noisy: 


At the moment there are only a few ducks on the ponds as the lotus leaves are so huge they have covered nearly all the water. Once the cooler weather comes, the leaves will die back and all our ducks, grebes, cormorants, moorhens, and swamp hens will be back.


We don't often see fish and turtles, but there are tell-tale signs of their presence.


This quilt was another collaborative effort with my artist grandson who did all the drawings for me.


The waterlilies are stunning, mostly purple, white and yellow.


We always stop to lean on the bridge and have another look.


It wouldn't be a pond without bulrushes. I had fun stitching these. I didn't want to leave them just with an outline, but filling them in with satin stitch didn't turn me on. I had a brainwave to work rows of stem stitch until they were covered and I just love the effect. I did the same on the leaves. It's now my "Go-To" technique for filling in stitching areas.


Country Threads magazine has featured the design in Volume 17 No 5.


and it has pride of place on the cover:


 Still no sewing machine (sigh ...). I had hoped I would have it back before Easter! Maybe ........    We have a big milestone to celebrate soon, so I have spent time putting together a photo presentation with some digital scrapbooking. Next I'll work on a pretty invitation for the party we have planned. I prepared another hand-stitching project, and have been spending more time on my volunteer work, so I guess time without Bernina hasn't all been wasted.

Happy stitching!
Val