Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Care for Creation book review


I was at first a little skeptical when asked to review "Care for Creation" by Christy Baldwin, as I think the whole "environment thing" has been blown way out of proportion and terms like "climate change" or "globalisation" have been misused and misunderstood.

I'm glad to say this book takes a commonsense and, very importantly, a biblical approach to environmental care and every day living. Christy writes about caring for God's creation - reminding us that the world is not ours to own. 

The well illustrated book is a common sense guide for children (and perhaps parents?) and introduces ways to make a difference each day. Every page includes a bible reference. At the end of the book are suggested activities and discussion questions.


Christy is a stay at home Mum from Ohio. She holds a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education and a master's degree in Special Education.

You can also win a copy of the book here for a limited time.

Don't forget to enter my giveaway this week!



Monday, November 29, 2010

Moving things along...


Apparently some of you are having trouble entering the giveaway because a Youtube video I posted is covering the followers section on the sidebar! The funny things that happen in Blogger hey?


Anyway, enjoy the sunset and hopefully this post will move things so you can access the follower button again!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Christmas giveaway!

As promised, it is time for my Christmas giveaway! I'm running it early so the winners (yep, two prizes!) can have their goodies in time for Christmas.

First up is a $25 gift voucher to spend in my Etsy store on whatever your heart desires!


Runner up will receive:



A patchwork needle book


Complete with a packet of very lovely Richard Hemming & Son crewel embroidery needles, size 2.


Plus this pretty cushion cover. All handmade by moi of course. The insert isn't included so you would need a 36 x 36cm insert.

Now for the serious stuff.

To enter: 

1. Leave a comment here. You need to be a follower. New followers are welcome to enter. 

2. For a second entry into the draw for either prize please blog about this giveaway and link back to here.  Then comment again telling me you blogged for your additional entry. You are welcome to borrow images from this post.

Winners will be drawn Saturday 4th December 2010.

Good luck!


Friday, November 26, 2010

Finished and well received!


I'm happy to say I did finish the needle books in time for stitching group lastnight. It's surprising how long it takes to hand paint, free motion quilt, then sew up one of these. Well worth the effort though - the stitching ladies loved them!


The interiors have a contrast fabric, a wool felt pocket and sheet of wool felt for the needles. They fasten with snaps.

So, this afternoon I'll attempt to continue working on a skirt for me that has involved a little too much unpicking for my liking! Then there are those cushion covers to be made up, the top to be re - dyed, the baby gowns I really should get to, the multitude of embroideries to choose from.............

I should mention that I'll be running my Christmas giveaway very soon so stay tuned :)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

My Creative Space


This week I've been hand painting and free motion machine quilting - both a lot of fun!
I've been making needle books for my friends in my stitching group for Christmas presents. Now the pressure is on because tonight is our last meeting for the year and the needle books aren't finished!


This has been great free motion practice for me and I think I'm starting to get a feel for it now.


I used salt resists on the hand painted fabric for lots of texture.


Love the colours and textures in this one. Hopefully I'll get these finished early enough to photograph the final product.

Of course, Thursday is our busiest day of the week with piano lessons and errands. Wish me luck!


You can join in My Creative Space at Kirsty's and check out all the other participants.

Book reading



A little Christmas treat for the children - a beautiful reading of Anthony DeStefano's "Little Star".

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Spring around the garden


Our little suburban space is looking pretty special right now and is a beautiful place to spend time. The garlic is nearly ready to flower.



The apricot tree is laden with fruit this year. The war will soon begin between the humans and the birds!



Love in a mist is so pretty.


One of the first morning glory flowers.

The  rest of my Saturday will be spent sewing skirts and Christmas gifts, in between "everything else". In other words, I may actually get some sewing done but who knows? If not, at least I can enjoy the comings and goings of the children and be thankful for them.

I hope you enjoy your family today too.

God bless.




Friday, November 19, 2010

Dyeing to know what's missing

Last summer I did quite a bit of dyeing with Drimarene K dyes. I love everything about these dyes except their price tag. I always had excellent results using these dyes.

So this time around I'm trying Procion simply because they're a fraction of the price. I'm now getting mixed results and am not happy with it all. The colours are strong (I make them strong because I like it that way) but lack the vibrancy of the Drimarene K items I've previously done.


I dyed some Stella for the first time this week when I made shorts for the girls. I think I oversaturated and lost definition in the designs. A lesson for next time.


Maybe I'm not combining the right colours? For example, the yellow I have is a golden yellow which is almost an orange - my next order will be for lemon yellow.


Another distorted design and way too mottled for my liking. The good news is the girls think they're wonderful and want to wear them a lot so all is not lost.

I also made a top for the boy that I dyed with the immersion technique (very carefully) that came up really disappointing. To be specific, it looks like an older and worn top rather than brand new and vibrant. I've trawled information to find what may be wrong - the only thing I can think of is the curing temperatures may be a little low as the weather hasn't really warmed up yet.

I know other dyers get great and vibrant results with Procion, so there must be something amiss with what I'm doing.

Any suggestions?


Thursday, November 18, 2010

My Creative Space

I'm joining in My Creative Space for the first time today.


I have dyed shorts and a top awaiting completion.


The Maisy quilt continues, along with some little needle book Christmas gifts for the ladies in my stitching group.


We have a new camera. YES!!! No more point and shoot for us, we love our Nikon SLR. Husband has been experimenting in his favourite place - the garden.


Possibly the most photogenic member of our family and certainly the most arrogant :)



Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Little Star

                                                                Image courtesy of Amazon.com


I'm usually a little apprehensive when it comes to books written about "the Christmas story" as they can be a little fanciful and detract from the true beauty and meaning of the Nativity. Instead of believing the reality of the birth of Jesus, children can start to feel it is just another story that makes for good reading but without any real substance.

Not so with Anthony's book, "Little Star". Without giving too much of the story away and ruining the surprise for you, the book offers a look at the Nativity from a different angle without changing what actually happened. The book begins with a father speaking to his young son, so the child can instantly relate to the story. The writing is descriptive but not complicated. I must mention the illustrations also, which are artistic, beautiful and vibrant.

I wholeheartedly recommend this book (and it would make a great Christmas present).

Anthony DeStefano is a dedicated Christian and a lovely person to deal with. If you would like to find out more about him and his other books, Google offers a wide range of pages or you could start here.

Happy reading!

Please note: I do not receive cash payment for product reviews unless otherwise specified.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Poo, bum, wee - oh please!!

We love books. What we would do without good books I do not know. Which brings me to the library. What we would do without the library I do not know, but I feel a little excited each time I walk in there knowing I can borrow up to 60 items and not pay a cent.
We visit the library at least once a week and use our full quota (remember there are 6 of us!)

But something has been bothering me about an increasing trend in children's fictions. Many adult writers seem to feel that the dumber their books are the more they will sell. And I guess they must be right because a lot of these authors are very popular.

These books lack dignity. They belittle children. They force the child into a stereotypical box of giggles over obscenities and slang. They "dumb down" the child not to mention the parent or other adult who has obtained the book in the first place.

I have my own personal boycott against these authors and hope that others will do the same so that "toilet fiction" will eventually fizzle out altogether.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Giveaway on Retro Mummy

This one is really worth entering! 14 fat quarters (!) of Sweet Broderie fabrics by Rosalie Quinlan. I almost don't want to tell you about it so I have a better chance of winning :)


Good luck!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happiness is....


A jar of red roses freshly picked from the loaded climber in the garden, displayed on a just polished table. No finger prints, no colouring pencils and books. Wonderful.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The $7 dress

Oh, the angst this dress caused me!! I wanted to make my own dress to wear to my sister's wedding. I spent a good deal of time pouring over patterns before deciding on Simplicity 3503. Then I agonised over fabrics for about a week. I haven't made many garments for myself and I'm not good with knowing what colours and style suit me.


So... after carefully measuring I started the dress and finished fairly quickly. I tried it on a lot before finishing, but somehow it ended up with problems. Like it was way too big. The neckline was too low and gaping. It was extremely long. And the waistband was completely wrong. Then the worst part - the style made me look about 6 months pregnant!!!




I was determined not to give up. So I did something that really surprised me. I put the instructions and pattern away. I said a prayer. I took the dress apart and started again. Don't ask me what I did - I cut, sewed, gathered, put in darts and somehow it all came together for a perfect fit!


Now here is the cool part. The fabric was off the Spotlight clearance table. At $2 a metre the dress worked out to roughly $7! (Not including the pattern cost)

I received many, many positive and flattering comments at the wedding. My husband gazed at me all night long. He is still gazing at me 4 days later. It was great to feel "pretty" again, it's been a long time!


I couldn't mention the wedding without showing my gorgeous sister being presented by Dad. She was so happy and beautiful. Marriage is a truly beautiful gift.

Disclaimer: The shots of me were taken by my 10 year old "photographer". He needs practice!


Friday, November 5, 2010

Traditional fudge


You either love or hate this type of fudge. Some people love the grainy texture, others like the more modern and smooth fudge. Being an extreme sweet tooth, I like both!

This recipe only has 4 ingredients and is easy to make. My son actually made the dish and we took turns stirring (it needs a lot of stirring!)

It's really delicious and very rich, so you only need a small piece - well, that's the idea anyway. It's kinda hard to stop at one piece. You'll find the recipe here.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

From scraps to....

Experimenting with dyes and paints is lots of fun but can leave you with a lot of swatches. Being the despiser of waste that I am I'm always trying to come up with ways of using the scraps.

My embroidery scissors had been housed in my needlecase, which was just awful as they were forever falling out.



Ah - much better! If I was going to have a scissors case it needed to be bright so I wouldn't lose it!
I sewed together bits and pieces of painted and dyed swatches, then practiced my free motion embroidery to make it really interesting.


I love a project that brings together a variety of skills and techniques. I machine embroidered spirals on the front.


And stippled all over the back. Now I think I'm ready to tackle a bigger machine embroidered project!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Rainbow doll


Finally - a new doll for the shop! This one is a little bit special because she has a lot of hand dyed elements.


Her dark purple dress was hand dyed by me (the frill is from some fabric Nic Wood sent me). The silk cape was dyed in the shibori method by me. Her flared pants were hand painted by my son.


Then there is the hair of course. The gorgeous rainbow hand dyed and spun yarn from Nell.

I don't think I'll be too sad if this doll doesn't find a home for Christmas, there are always other possibilities!