The Pantry is stocked!

We live in a wonderful land of plenty in Australia and at this season here in the south we have the most delicious stone fruit available.  I have been preserving peaches and plums - 19 bottles.  With what I have left from last year, that will see us through the whole year.  We mainly use the fruit on our cereal for breakfast - YUM!  With my homemade yoghurt and my own muesli recipe, it is extra YUMMY!

Don't these plums look wonderful?  They taste as good as they look.

Then my DH thinks supermarket jam is just the pits and loves me to make 'real' jam with lots of body, so for years I have been regularly making jam - plum, peach, tamarillo, apricot, rosella, and whatever else might be in season. This week it was time to make a couple of batches of sweet orange marmalade.  It has to be CHUNKY!


Now that the pantry is stocked, I have had my nose down stitching.  There have been two commissionings this week from magazines - one project was already made but the other one will require a lot of work.  Then some curtains needed to be made for our daughter in Japan.  There'll be a photo after she has opened the parcel, in case she reads this blog! 

These little hats popped into a design when I wasn't looking:


They definitely weren't there when I started!


but how could I resist their charms?


You can tell I have been having fun!  Now I had better put some housework on the "to do" list for next week!

Happy stitching!
Val

Where did that week go?

Can't believe a week has disappeared since last I wrote!  It was one of those weeks where I don't seem to have accomplished much at all. 

We had to go to town to shop one day - a rare occurrence to go to the big city, so that was a whole day gone.  We ticked off a lot on the list and even managed to obtain some replacements for Tupperware that had split or peeled.  I LOVE Tupperware - where else in the world can you buy something in the 1960's, 70's or 80's and get it replaced free 30 or 40 years later because the corner of the lid has split?  It is the only real "lifetime" guarantee that I know!

We had some cooler weather this week, so I spent a morning tidying up one area of the garden.  The hot weather has taken its toll but the roses have survived and are rarely without their gorgeous flowers.






This Bloomfield Abundance (below) is very special to me as we had it in the garden of my childhood home and its sweet little buds and blooms always delighted me.  When we built our new home, it was one of the first plants I purchased for the garden.  It is near my washing line so gives me pleasure many times a week!



In between watching tennis and cricket in the evening, I managed to finish the embroidery for one of my new designs.  I had taken it on holidays with me so it had a good start, but I am a FINISHER so I just love to complete a project!  I have just sent off a photo of it to a magazine, so no sneak-peaks yet.

The week before last I put up a few photos on the Craft Lovers community gallery, so drop by and have a look at all the lovely work that is on display there from so many talented crafters. 

Well, having thought about a few things that I managed to get done in the week, maybe it wasn't such a non-productive week after all!

A few people have asked about patterns for the cupcakes and birdhouse pincushions.  The birdhouse has been commissioned by a magazine, so I don't like to make patterns available until after the magazine has been published.  The cupcakes ???, well the pattern is on the very long "to do" list!   

And here is a photo of a bag which I have just given to a friend.  The photo of our gorgeous pelicans was taken on the river just in front of our house and it was easily turned into applique for the front of the bag.  Don't you love the beautiful 'water' fabric?



Have a great week - and happy stitching!

Val

How does your garden grow?

No, it's not a question about gardening, but the title of my latest bag pattern which has just featured in the Australian Patchwork & Stitching magazine.



It is made using a Moda Simplicity jelly roll I bought a couple of years ago and I decided then that I would see how many projects I could make using the strips. I've lost track of how many bags I made (I always seem to forget to take photos of presents I make!), but I remember making the above pattern in blue for one of the grand-daughters. The jelly roll fabric also was used to make this sewing compendium, which I also taught at the Creative Craft Retreat in Queensland last year.






Jelly Rolls are really quite good value and it is just great having co-ordinating fabrics, isn't it?

This week, in between washing everything from our camping trip, cleaning the campervan and catching up with friends, I've been steadily working on the new BOM which starts in a couple of weeks. I am really enjoying producing these blocks. I think they are so sweet and pretty - can't wait to show you the first one, but I will be disciplined and just give you a little sneak peak!



I've also been updating the website and I'm working on having all my patterns available in pdf format with a much easier purchase system in the very near future.  ... And I am planning to have some super specials to celebrate!

I look forward to having you visit again soon!

Happy stitching.

Val

Free pattern final instructions

How are you all going with stitching your "What is Love?" free blocks?  As promised, here are some instructions for completing the pattern.  Of course, some of you will prefer to make a quilt or wall-hanging and a few have told me that they plan to incorporate the blocks into a wedding quilt.  I chose to make mine into this lovely table runner in shades of my favourite pinks and purples.  The finished size is 29½ x 14½.



What do you think of it?

If you would like another block to add to your design, you could use a sister block to this design - and it is also free - the "Love never fails" stitchery. You will need to reduce the design a fraction if you wish to use the border on it or maybe enlarge it a little to use it without the border.  See the blog sidebar to download that stitchery pattern.

If you wish to use the table runner pattern, I have put it on the website for you to download.  It began as a very large file because I wanted to include three or four photos to go with the instructions.  Unfortunately I have had to sacrifice photo quality in order to reduce the file to a manageable size.  However, I will include the other photos on this blog as well for you to get a better look.

Here are the appliqued hearts in the centre panel:



and the lettering:



then here are seven of the blocks joined:




Even if you don't decide to make a table runner, you might like to incorporate the four extra texts that are provided in the final instructions.  They could look great embroidered around the border if you made a wall-hanging.

I would LOVE to see what you do with the blocks, so please send me a photo so that we can all share in your creativity.

The blocks and final instructions will be available for download only for one more month so make sure you go here to collect them soon and tell your friends!

Happy stitching!

Val

Happy Twenty-Ten!

Happy 2010 to all my friends in blogland!  We arrived home safely yesterday afternoon after our 5000+ km travels.  The weather was pretty abominable with four days of 45 degrees heat on the way up to Queensland, rain for two weeks (all but 2 days) and then temperatures up to 48 degrees on the way back home!!!  But --- we survived the heat, were thankful that some of the drought areas received the much-needed rain, managed to avoid the floods, and our little old campervan faithfully brought us home safely.

The absolutely BEST part of our holiday, of course, was being together with all our little "Chickens"!  There were 20 of us for Christmas and we loved watching all the cousins relate to each other and the adults just enjoying hanging out together.

I managed to get a little stitching done and I'm excited about the new free BOM I have for you this year.  I hope to have it up and running in February.  Meanwhile I am just finalising some instructions to complete the "What is Love" pattern, so watch this space!

I thought I'd show you some of the Christmas presents I made - lots of travel laundry bags.








The male members of the family also received laundry bags, but I forgot to take photos of them before I wrapped their presents!  Oh well, the masculine bags weren't half as photogenic as the ones above!

I'm still catching up on all the mail that was waiting for us when we arrived home, but I had a sneak peak at the latest Patchwork & Stitching magazine to see what my "How does your garden grow?" bag looked like in the photo.  I will put it on the blog when I get my head above water again - there's plenty of washing and ironing to do and the campervan needs a good clean and there's still plenty of bits and pieces to unpack.  So, I'd better get off the computer and get started ....

Regards
Val