Just a few days left

I hope you have had a wonderful Christmas. We enjoyed having five of our grandchildren (including spouses) plus our son with us - a lovely family time.

Now there are just a few days left of 2016. That means you have a very short time to download all the blocks from the free Block of the Month design, You Are Blessed. The patterns will be removed when I get up on the 1st January. (I'm an early riser and we're talking Australian time, so don't miss out!)

Of course, I have another free Block of the Month quilt for you for 2017. It is coming together beautifully and I am nearly ready to start quilting it. Look out for the first pattern mid January.

Meanwhile, if you like cute stitcheries, The Mouse House, is now available in my pattern store.


One of my clever grandsons drew up the design for me.



Mr & Mrs Mouse are all set up in their sweet toadstool house.


Happy stitching!
Val


Christmas Tree Ornament - free pattern

I have the last of my 2016 free Christmas ornaments for you today - a simple Christmas tree:

I decided to stick to a monochromatic colour scheme so there's plenty of green!


The garlands are in fly-stitch alternating with beads, but of course you could use whatever stitch you wish. You might like to stitch the garlands in red then add red ricrac around the edge, which would look great.



 Whatever way you like to stitch it, I hope you enjoy making it ... and I would love to see a photo of your end product.

The free pattern is in my Craftsy Store here:

While you are in my store, you might like to look at this lovely Christmas cushion. 



The pattern is now available here.

I am well on the way with the 
free Block of the Month pattern 
that I have designed for 2017. I joined my husband in the lounge room for a few hours while the One Day cricket games were on and managed to get two or three of the embroidered panels stitched. 



The bonus was that Australia won all three games over New Zealand!

I thought you would like to hear my story about this Clivea:


Nearly 30 years ago when we were living in a College Community, a friend from Queensland came to one of our Summer Schools. She was an avid gardener and asked could she have a piece of one of the Cliveas that were in the spacious grounds, We gave her permission and didn't think about it ever again! Fast forward to a couple of years ago. We moved to Queensland and our friend came to visit us in our new home, present in hand. The gift was a Clivea plant from that original one we had given her 30 years ago! ... and here it is now flowering in our courtyard! It brings back happy memories of many lovely years in a beautiful location.

Happy stitching!
Val

Holly Christmas Tree Ornament - Free Pattern

Today I have another little Christmas Tree Ornament for you, featuring Holly.


I was wondering why we use Holly to decorate our homes at Christmas and discovered a few ideas. Here is one I like:

The prickly leaves represent the crown of thorns that Jesus wore when he was crucified. The berries are the drops of blood that were shed by Jesus because of the thorns.

The Holly and Ivy carol has these lines:
"The holly bears a berry/As red as any blood/And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ/To do poor sinners good."  "The Holly bears a prickle/As sharp as any thorn/And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ/On Christmas Day in the morn"


I rather like the simplicity of this little decoration with nothing other than some red blanket-stitching to finish off the edges.


Another version I have made has green ric rac around the edge, stitched in place with French Knots. I like the white background too.

As usual, the pattern is available free in my Craftsy Store.


We start our round of Christmas break-ups this coming week and I've been making some of these little decorations as mini gifts.
 

A bit of gold braid adds some glitz:


I think my favourite edging has to be crochet. It's certainly the one I enjoy doing the most:



Have you made any of these ornaments yet?


 I have just a couple more of these to make and then I am excited about starting the 2017 free Block of the Month wall quilt for you. It's all designed, the fabric is chosen, and it's just waiting for me to start cutting and embroidering!

Happy stitching!
Val


A White Christmas

Here in sub-tropical Queensland, the last thing we would ever dream of seeing is a White Christmas! We will no doubt be sweltering in the heat and humidity of our Summer season. I love it and I don't ever wish for cold, bleak weather with snow!!!

However, I like to have my unrealistic dreams and I love the traditional look of the celebrations of the northern hemisphere. When I was designing some new ornaments, I couldn't help but place them on a white background and call them "White Christmas"!


I did go a bit non-traditional and chose to use shades of lavender.


I enjoyed using different stitches to enhance these. 


A few beads and a bell for the embellishments...



Can't beat the hexagon for shape!

I have placed the pattern for these in my Craftsy Store here. 
All three patterns are included for just US $7.50

I have finished my Quilt-As-You-Go Dresden plate quilt, but I am afraid I can't show you it yet!!! I was very happy with the result and enjoyed trying a few new techniques. I will certainly be using these methods again.

Last week I showed you my lovely Cactus. This week quite a few of its offspring flowered and it really did look quite sweet.


Watch out for another free Christmas ornament next week on my blog.

Happy stitching.
Val


Dove Christmas Tree Ornament - free pattern

I chose to use my favourite dove motif for this week's free Christmas Tree Ornament.


The dove is outlined with silver metallic thread, but it would look just as lovely if you used gold. Then I've used some lace around the edge which was very easy to sandwich between the felt circles and stitch in place with a decorative running stitch. 


Of course there are a myriad ways you could finish off the design so I'd love to see how you interpret this free pattern.

The dove is an interesting symbol for Christmas, isn't it. I chose to use it with all its connotations of peace, purity and love as embodying all that we have available to us because Christ came to earth. That's plenty to celebrate, isn't it!

You can find the free pattern here in my Craftsy Store.

If you love the Christmas Dove as much as I do, you might also like my hanging dove which I gave as a free Christmas pattern a couple of years ago. It is still available for free in my Craftsy Store, here.


My Dresden quilt is progressing well. It has taken heaps longer than I expected. Appliqueing, quilting, hand-stitching the sashings, adding borders Quilt-As-You-Go style etc have all taken time. I know I don't HAVE to hand-stitch, but I like the finish that this gives on a QAYG quilt, so it is worth the extra effort. All my previous QAYG quilts have been string-type designs without a border, so I have had to think through how to add them on this quilt without bulk and still looking like "normal" borders! Thankfully I am happy with how it's all turning out.

In other adventures this past week, we avoided stepping on a venomous red-bellied black snake which crossed the path in front of us on our morning walk:


delighted in the bonus that an easy-care cactus garden gives:


and rejoiced in seeing gorgeous red-backed fairy wrens:


May your week be full of blessings too!

Hugs
Val

Candle Christmas Tree Ornament - free pattern

We've had a few exciting weeks and I feel at last that my feet are just about hitting the ground!


Most of the excitement centred around our grandson's wedding which was amazing, with a stunning setting, gorgeous decorations, wonderful answers to prayer, and a very happy couple. My darling Hubby had the honour of marrying the couple and giving the message, along with our son-in-law who was in charge of the ceremony. It was such a joy to celebrate with them and the 90 guests who attended. Daughter and I spent quite a few hours stringing fairy lights!


The day after the wedding we partied with our daughter-in-law for her 50th birthday. Of course, the best part of all these celebrations was being able to spend extended time with our family!

Not to be outdone, hubby also had his birthday last week, so we continued the celebrations by going to see the superb production of "Singin' in the Rain" , complete with its 12,000 litres of water!!!

Life is returning now to some sort of normality and I actually opened the sewing machine for a couple of days - seems like months since that has happened! You won't be needing a sewing machine for the Christmas ornament I have for you this week:


I've chosen a hexagon shape (on point!) for the decoration this time. It is so simple to make with just a few scraps of felt and some cute stitches. You can choose what you want to put around the edge - I love the effect of the blue crochet shells.



The pattern is here in my Craftsy Store.

I've started work on cutting 180 Dresden blades for a magazine project. Needless to say, I'm very thankful for my Accuquilt Go Cutter at times like this! Now to stitch them together!

Happy stitching!
Val

Bell Christmas Tree Ornament - free pattern

Today I am just touching base as I land on the computer for a very short while. We have had a wonderful week away with our local Birdwatching Club. It's always a delight to spend time with friends who have the same interest in our wonderful Australian bird life. 

I hit home in time to do all the washing and ironing before I packed again to go off to the Creative Craft Retreat. Our daughter flew down from more than 1000 kms away to attend, so of course it was wonderful to spend a weekend away with her doing what we both love.

Now we're home again and another two of our children plus their spouses have arrived to spend the week with us before the wedding of one of our grandsons. As you can imagine, I won't be spending much time on the computer!!!

I have another free pattern for you in our Christmas Tree ornament series. This time it is a sweet bell embroidered with pretty stitches, ricrac, beads and a folly bell.


You can find the pattern here in my Craftsy Store. 
Have fun making another decoration for your tree.

Before I go, I will show you another of my PASSES (Projects At a Stand-still). It is a different coloured version of my very first free Block of the Month way back in 2009, "What is Love?". I prepared and worked most of the stitcheries many years ago and then it just sat in the PASS drawer. I figured it really was time it was completed! 


Now to go and catch up on more conversation!!!

Val

Pudding Christmas Tree Ornament - free pattern

Christmas is getting closer! Today I have the first of six Christmas Tree ornaments that I will be sharing with you. There will be a new one added each fortnight. Here is the Christmas Pudding:


These ornaments are very quick to make, can be made from bits and pieces you have in your stash and I hope you will really enjoy making them.


I've used some fun embroidery stitches to embellish the ornaments. Fly stitch is a great felt enhancement and I've fallen in love with Palestrina Knot stitch:


The crochet edge is optional and I've made suggestions for alternatives if you're not a crochet fan.

The pattern is available in my Craftsy Store. Craftsy have changed their format over this weekend so I hope you can find your way around. Let me know if you have any difficulties. 

Seeing we're on a Christmas theme, I would like to show you this lovely "Joy to the World" cushion that I designed: 


I really like everything about this - the colours, the sentiment, the appliques, the embellishments.


... a little bit of stitchery, Prairie Points ....


... Suffolk Puffs, braid and lace:


The pattern is in Handmade Vol 35 No 4:


It's easy to find on the cover!


I'd love to see your take on the Pudding ornament so send in those photos!

Happy stitching!
Val

Creatures great and small - well, mostly small!

I had a day or so to spare before family arrived last week, so dutifully opened up my PASS (Projects At a Stand-Still) drawer. I'm determined to reduce its size! In it I found some small creatures - three appliqued butterflies each on a white square.


I looked at them for quite a while pondering what I could do with them. Inspiration finally hit and I thought they would work nicely into mug rugs.


I had some left-over jelly roll strips and other bits and pieces in the lovely Notting Hill range so they were put to good use. I was quite delighted with how pretty they looked. 


It is interesting how the soft colours counteract the stark black of the butterfly and its equally stark white background.


I was very happy with the unlikely combination. The pink and aqua must have inspired me and I found myself making a little felt and crochet hanging, again with a butterfly:


The other small creatures I want to show you are Mr & Mrs Mouse.


I asked my clever grandson to draw me The Mouse House and he did such a fabulous job. It is definitely one of my favourite stitcheries.


It even made the cover of Patchwork & Stitching Magazine.


The pattern is in Volume 18 No 1 and will be in my Craftsy Store later in the year.

Hubby was away at a Conference for a few days, so what is there for a girl to do but to start a new design!!! It's going to be my first ever row quilt and I'm super excited about it. I've worked out one row and I have a vague idea about the others, so it's my usual 'design on the run' style. I like to be flexible!

Next week I plan to give you the first of my six little Christmas tree ornaments, so I hope to see you back here then.

Happy stitching!
Val