Sunday, December 29, 2013

Penning, Painting and Pinning

The painting and penning above with the children was inspired by pinning - of the PINTEREST kind! 
Late last month I finally decided to join Pinterest as a beautifully visual way of organising and bookmarking ideas I want to remember.  

I find myself scanning through one board after another, like Alice in Wonderland. What a wonderful source of inspiration, feeding the mind with creative images and ideas and so easy to share with the children or others. I love having a feast of fresh images to ponder as I drift off to soothing water for a weary mind.

Do you have a very favourite Pinterest board or creative ways of using Pinterest? I'm all ears.   :)

One of my friends and her daughter (who lives in another state) use Pinterest as a way of sharing fabric/pattern ideas to help co-ordinate sewing/buying for the grandchildren, keeping each other up to date with what they like or have in mind. You are allowed up to three "Secret" boards which would work for this type of sharing, gift ideas or more personal interests.

UPDATE: One of the biggest features of Pinterest for me is being able to easily organise and see my Pins or bookmarks. This makes finding something later much easier. You can of course delete pins too. You can change the placement of your boards on your home page but don't seem to be able to adjust pins within a board - they stay in chronological order of pinning.

Another brilliant advantage is being able to log in to Pinterest from any internet device and access your own Pins or new ideas. This is great when away from your usual computer/device or when upgrading to another computer.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

As A Baby, Jesus Came

As a baby, Jesus came
From His home above
He left His throne, and who He was,
To teach us how to love

As a baby, Jesus came,
Wrapped in swaddling cloth;
Willingly took on humanity,
Though He was one with God

As a baby, Jesus came
To one day grow to be
The saviour of the human race,
People like you and me

As a baby, Jesus came
As God's eternal light
That will never be extinguished,
But forever shine out bright

As a baby, Jesus came
The hope of eternal life,
Reconciling us back to God,
Giving meaning to our lives

As a man, Jesus died,
His blood poured out for all,
Cleansing and forgiving us,
For to this, He was called

We thank Him that He came a babe
And grew to be a man
And for His sacrificial love,
His nailed scarred feet and hands

Through it all we can live on
With Jesus Christ our Lord
The babe that came that first Christmas
Is what we thank Him for.
© By M.S.Lowndes

Miss E enjoying one her gifts this Christmas morning. May we all find peace and joy and a little childlike wonder in the simple truths of Christmas today.

The poem above was read at our Christmas Eve service yesterday, written by a New Zealand mother.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Summer Santa

I stumbled across the man in red on yesterday's sunset walk! Santa is traditionally dressed for winter so he tends to swelter in our midsummer Christmas heat. He and his helpers must have had a special appointment to attend.

There were only two kangaroos in the churchyard today, seeking relief in the shade even in the early morning.

Miss E has been Christmas baking again. I resisted these little mince pies but did try a little of her fresh shortbread. She has baked enough Christmas treats for an army, but then sometimes our family demolishes food like and army too!

We're heading for an even warmer day of 36C (96F) tomorrow - the pool will be well used again.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Little Pleasures

Little pleasures from my week:

The lilly pillies are setting pretty berries again - they look better than they taste.
Too late to catch the sunset colours, my walk yielded the unexpected delight of a moonrise over the river.
The children have been busy making Christmas cards to mail to their friends.

Trust you are all keeping well, and finding life's little pleasures during this Christmas season.


Sharing at SkyWatch Friday.

Monday, December 16, 2013


Early this morning I bought one mango each - clearly they were not all created equal!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Hopes, Dreams, Healing - and Hail!

Wednesday afternoon brought a summer hailstorm. The children thought it was great fun!

Miss O and Miss E senior have been busy with Christmas baking, filling the kitchen (and some of the freezer) with many delicious aromas - and yet more heat.

Master J's school had its end of year Presentation Evening on Tuesday. It's a very small and caring school where he has thrived. He only enrolled there last year, having been homeschooled along with our other children until then. Master J has definitely applied himself to his studies and plans to start an engineering degree at Uni next year, hoping to move into aeronautical engineering down the track.

The twins now have their learner licences. In our state you must be 16 before you can take the written/computer test. They will each need 120 hours of logged supervised driving before they are allowed attempt the driving test required for their Provisional licences. Last night they had their first sit behind the wheel with a beginning drive in a vacant car park. Miss E senior is also considering completing the computer test soon - which would mean we have 360 hours of learner driving to supervise......

Late October I received a request for the use of one of my images for the label and website of a small brand new personal care  business. Today I received a lovely little parcel of goodies in the mail by way of exchange. I'm yet to try these products but they look and smell wonderful. Quite a delightful outcome. You can see more of their beeswax based products on the Kabai website.

Speaking of healing, we had a very productive visit with a naturopath yesterday regarding my husband's chronic eczema. There is hope on the horizon - he returned to work on Wednesday after three weeks sick leave due to eczema. Maybe it's time to dare to dream again!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A Little Movement

Decisions have been made and progress is happening - at last. Four weeks ago I shared my dilemma regarding which fabric to use for the background for this EPP quilt. It was wonderful to have so many express opinions yet no one option stood out as a clear winner.

I realised that some of the blocks definitely looked better on a darker charcoal fabric while others looked better on the lighter smoke crosshatch. The idea of using both in some combination, maybe with another one or two similar shades was percolating in my mind when Mary, an experienced Swiss quilter, left her comment - "My advice for the background of your quilt: Use color "Vibrations" of different medium plain greys! I would give more depth and mirror like or transparency effect to the whole. Only one fabric makes it more flat or static. Good luck, whatever you choose will work!"

Back to the internet to see what I could find which may add to the two crosshatches or possibly a combination of solid greys. I chose one mid grey print which I thought might work. I made a tentative start on stitching some of the crosshatch pieces to three EPP stars. After a wait of nearly three weeks the fabric arrived, (we live in Australia) but my expectations weren't met. The shade and tone didn't work with the crosshatches I had (a downside of trying to choose fabric online).

Placing the blocks out on my design "wall" bed I could see that a random pattern of crosshatches wasn't going to work either but a carefully alternating pattern looked just right. It's hard to tell in the light of these photos but the two shades of crosshatch do provide that gentle movement which Mary also spoke of in her comment.

After unpicking the misplaced random diamonds I was able to set to work adding background pieces to each star. Over the last few days I have now completed five out of the twelve stars and it works well, looking better as more stars are added to the mix.

The crosshatch is definitely a directional fabric and looks best working in unison. Even though the diamonds are identical shapes I have had to cut each colour in three different directions to keep them in harmony for the background.

At this time of year the sewing machine is staying off our dining/school table but this handwork project is just perfect for those snippets of time here and there. Now I'm pondering backing fabrics......

Sharing at WIP Wednesday, In Hand EPP.

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Perfect Partner

Pool salt - tick, succulent potting mix - tick :), replacement floodlight bulbs -tick. Now for the fun bit, a quick look at the plants! I found the perfect partner for my Black Prince, then I checked the name of this pretty succulent - "Violet Queen", a match made in succulent heaven!

I came home very pleased with this wonderful find, a partner for Black Prince. My husband was a little bemused at my delight in the small things such as my plants - that's ok, he's not a gardener. Also purchased was a little pot of Gold Mound Sedum which will bring some variety to the mix of my succulent collection

Now to work out pots and the right location. Black Prince has doubled in size in the three and a half months I've had him which has been quite a surprise. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

A Winner

Remembering Nelson Mandela, one of the truly great men of our era.

Sharing at SkyWatch Friday.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Handmade Hearts Christmas Decorations - Tutorial

There's something special about handmade decorations, I feel our tree isn't complete unless there's a homemade touch added.

This year the children have chosen to decorate using only silver, gold and pure white. Miss E's hand crocheted stars and paper snowflakes from earlier years meet the colour requirements but none of the decorations I had made. I lay in bed pondering what I could make. These satin stars, stitched in silver thread are the result.

Using pure white Princess Satin, the thickest, richest I could find, I ironed on some stiff fusible interfacing.

Then I traced around a small paper heart template (cookie cutters would make good templates too) using a water soluble pen. Folding and pinning the now stiffened satin back to back I stitched the two pieces together with running stitch. I already had a skein of DMC Precious Metal Effects thread in silver, just right for the job. 

Above is the back which looks just like the front except without the blue pen markings. I began the stitching with a knot hidden between the two layers, then finished with a couple of stitches on top on each other going through the back layer only, hiding the end between the front and back layers.

After joining the front and back pieces with the running stitch, I carefully cut out the heart shapes with sharp scissors. Next I gently wet each heart to make the blue pen lines disappear, blotting dry on a clean towel. Lastly I managed to add a hanging thread by looping it through one of the top running stitches (as shown above) which helps the heart hang face forward on the tree.

Six new hearts (so far) hang cheerfully on our tree. They are cheap to make, bright and shiny and will take up next to no space to store (extra bonus) - or I may even find a happy spot for them to stay hanging all year round!

You could of course try stars or any shape, maybe adding embroidery, sequins or beads. Personally I like the simplicity of the hearts after all, love, His love, is what the season is all about.

Happier tree and a happier me!

Sharing at Maxabella Loves, In the studio.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

And Then....He Looked at Me!

Oh no! Is he dead? I was standing near the back door looking for some ribbon in the cupboard when he flew in, around and hit the glass door on his way back out. He just lay there on the floor beside me for several minutes. I wondered if he'd broken his back.

Then he looked at me...he was alive! Within a couple of minutes Master J had gently covered him with an old cloth and relocated him to our back deck.

There he sat for a few more minutes before flying away in the blink of an eye!

I had often wanted a closer look at these pretty little Silvereyes, native to Australia, New Zealand and the south-west Pacific islands, however I never expected to see one sitting still right at my feet like this one did yesterday. 

Sharing at Wild Bird Wednesday.

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