Sunday, 25 February 2018

The Forgotten Blogger

So ten months has passed since I last looked at and opened my blog!! I have always been a "slow blogger" because there are so many things that I enjoy doing away from the computer. But eventually the urge returns to want to share the things that bring me joy.

Nanna and Chase
2017 was not a healthy year for me with two separate stays in hospital and the continuing fight with my MS but there were still some joyous moments shared with family and friends. The most joyous of those was the arrival of another grandson at the end of December. Little Chase is a brother to our beautiful grandson Landon and we have shared some very happy and beautiful moments with both these little guys since the end of December. It is a joy to be living close enough to them to be a "real" Nanna and Poppa and be part of their growing up. We have missed so much with our other grandchildren living so far away. They may not always be living so close so we shall make the most of the time we have together.

Unfortunately 2017  was not a great year for creative pursuits in the Woman's Cave but there were a few finishes in time for Christmas . Most of my time was spent on cross stitch projects as they were easy on the mind and coordination. However, with an improvement in health I am once again enjoying my hand embroidery as well as cross-stitch and card making.

So 2018 has started well. Health issues still exist but are not currently impacting on my motivation and enthusiasm to be creatively active. Hopefully updates will appear on my blog monthly and I can continue to share my progress with you all for the 2018 Year of Finishes!

Cross-stitch -- 

RR Project for Alice
RR Project for Trisha
RR project for Wendy

Two framed and gifted to Mrs K, Dec 2017
Kimono - gifted to Narelle

Biennial Embroiderers Exhibition 2017 --  The Toowoomba Branch of the Embroiderers Guild held their biennial exhibition in September and I managed to finish two new projects to enter, as well as frame another two that I had finished some time ago. I also finished one of my Faeries in the Garden projects in time to display.

Faeries in My Garden table topper
The Toowoomba Challenge
Finally framed after 6 years

Coffee pot warmer
Angels abound, gifted to Miss Heidi

Quilts -- With the beautiful gift from the OWO of my HQ Sweet 16 machine I had hoped to finish more quilts in 2017. Obviously that didn't happen. But progress was made and I shall continue to work on those WIPs in 2018 as part of my goal in the 2018 Year of Finishes challenge.
Progress continues on Sweet 16

Another grandchild, another quilt

Autumn Glory still under the needle

Social Media Challenges -- I am not a great lover of social media but in 2017 I needed an outlet to keep me motivated. After learning a little more about FB I found a number of Groups that provided me with inspiration,  motivation, and involvement where I could share my own progress on projects with like-minded people.

So now I am busier than ever with monthly challenges, BOMs, and RRs that inspire and motivate me on the "not-so-good" MS days.

The progress on my current project is mainly due to challenges set by two of those FB groups, Cynthia's Ark Project Uninterrupted and Stitchingly's 2018 Year of Finishes.

RR FB GroupA - Jan 2018
Inspired by the interaction of members on these social media groups I actually accepted the challenge of setting up my own FB Group, Round Robin Stitchers of Australia. The first event, a mini Christmas decoration exchange, was a great success and members are currently involved in the first round robin with two small groups of four stitchers.
Online Make it Modern BOM
Round Robin FB Group
Mini Decoration Exchange 2017

My current project and February challenge: My current project is from, designed by Leanne Knell.  It was a nine block, six month BOM that I started last March. Unfortunately due to health issues the project was put on hold. So my challenge for February was to complete all the embroideries ready to stitch the blocks together in preparation for quilting and finishing by the end of March. There were six embroideries to be completed and I currently only have one more to go.  So it looks like I am on target to complete this month's challenge.

On Freedom's Wings, designer Leanne Knell

Center block to finish

Cards in 2017 and 2018  -- Card Making
Many birthdays were missed in 2017 but there were a few Christmas cards made and a couple of special cards. My goal in 2018 is to ensure I do not miss one birthday and so far I have met that goal with eleven cards already sent and another six already made to send in March.
Cannot believe he is 18!

Welcome Chase Dec 2017
Xmas trove of cards sent

and someone was 1....

Table decoration boxes Xmas Day
Someone was 21.....

Wednesday, 26 April 2017


Today is ANZAC Day and I  find myself more emotional than normal - even the Last Post reduced me to tears! For the past four weeks we have been housesitting near Innisfail in FNQ. It has been a period of peaks and troughs for me.

Our first week was spent preparing for a cyclone (as mentioned in my last post) and when TC Debbie passed us by we breathed a great sigh of relief.

Then I  developed a cough which turned into bronchitis which developed into pneumonia which was further exacerbated with a severe reaction to the antibiotics prescribed. All of which has taken its toll both physically and emotionally. However, at the time of writing I can thankfully say that I am "on the mend".

Despite all that I  made the most of my "confinement" and retreated into my own world of designing and stitching. However, today my post is not about my activities.

Many of you will know that I  have four beautiful children that make me a very proud mother, but not many of you will know the reasons why I am so proud of them as I do not usually include my private life as part of my craft blog. But today I want to pay a tribute to my daughter, Heidi, and her recent achievements.

Twelve months ago Heidi gave birth to baby James. Sadly James was born "sleeping". Even more sadly his birth could not be "legally" recorded with a birth certifcate as he was born three days before a legal birth is recognised. My daughter was devastated! For many weeks after the birth she battled with ill health and depression, blaming herself for his premature birth and questioning why she should go on with life.

As she grew physically stronger she started running every day. In her own words she "..would run as fast as I could as far as I  could in the hope that the grief couldn't catch up". That was her release mechanism (stitching is mine!).  Then she met other young women who had been tgrough similar experiences and she eventually found some solace and support through a charity called 'Tommy's' - a UK organisation that provides support and research into pregnancy problems and premature birth.
Heidi's story can be found here

In finding a purpose to continue with life she set herself a daunting challenge to raise £500 for the charity and compete in the 2017 London marathon. I  might add here that this young woman suffered with serious anxiety attacks when faced with crowds or strangers so even fund raising would be a major challenge!

Since she began her journey, she has raised £4000 (about $7000) for the charity. Then on Sunday she completed the London marathon. It was no record time but at the end of 41kms she crossed the finish line with a smile on her face -- 7hrs 35mins--proudly wearing a shirt printed with more than 150 stars representing all the little angels she had been told about with a special star for baby James, (and a space for my little angel, Faith). Her new purpose in life has earned her the respect of many new friends and strangers that have read her story.

I am so very proud of what she has achieved, turning her heartache into something positive for the future.
Still smiling after 40kms

You are a legend!

I am blessed to have given birth to four beautiful, healthy children who have grown into beautiful adults.

Perhaps that is the culmination of a month filled with peaks and troughs that would account for my high levels of emotion today.

Friday, 14 April 2017

Travelling and Stitching

The month of March just flew by. With our new adventure starting at the end of February,  it was a very frantic end to that month.

AHQ RAN Quilt 1
AHQ RAN Quilt 2
Although I was busy getting organised for our travels north I still managed to fit in some time in the "Cave". With the help of a fellow AHQ stitcher I  finished a laundry bag, a quilt, and a quilt top for two members of the RAN, the day before we left home!! I designed, pieced, appliqued, and stitched both quilt tops and Irene did the quilting on her long-arm machine. She also helped me with the making of my very first laundry bag.  Thank you Irene.
AHQ Laundry Bag
Front Cover
Also finished was this little gem - the 'mystery' project mentioned in my last post -- a birthday gift for our two year old grandson. It's an activity quiet book.  The removable pieces are worked in fabric and felt then backed with velcro. It was quite a challenge for me as I  had never worked with small felt pieces before. But judging by Master Landon's reaction I think it was a success.
Back Cover with zip to store parts

Pages 2 and 3

Pages 4 and 5
Completed Quiet Book
After a delightful week with our daughter and grandson (where we celebrated two birthdays), we continued our travels north to Townsville to spend five nights at the "Pera Court Hilton". We only get to see these special friends once a year, but boy do we make up for "lost" time when we do get together!

 Five wonderful days with my 'Stitching Sister', Miss Carmel, meant there were plenty of creative activities shared -- cardmaking, stitching, quilting, and of course, shopping, lunches, morning teas, and one or two (sometimes more) glasses of "stitching juice"!!!!  And plenty of "catch-up" chat.

On our first night SS surprised me with a yummy birthday cake, complete with sparklers -- sorry there are no photos as neither I nor the OWO were prepared for that!

Three beautiful cards
The next day was card-making class (a lovely friendly group of ladies) , lunch, shopping, coffee,  and  more shopping (fabric of course) ! After a "nanna nap" (fabric shopping is a very tiring exercise!) and a few good glasses of "stitching juice", we planned our attack for the next three days!

Poppy block - one of 16 we made
One of the days was spent stitching poppy blocks for AHQ. What fun we had with Mrs OWO trying to get the correct alignment for those blocks -- the MS brain regularly has trouble with the orientation of shapes! We completed 16 blocks over two days! Whilst working on the blocks I encouraged my SS to join the AHQ group and she has since made a number of "propeller" blocks for the group.  I  look forward to sharing photos with her of the blocks we both make during the year.

All too soon it was time to pack up the stitching kit, assess the "damage" and achievements,  and to say farewell to our wonderful hosts at the Pera Court Hilton. Time to continue our travels even further north to our temporary residence near Innisfail. So until we next meet dear friends we thank you for your wonderful hospitality and the happy memories we have shared.

Mow-mow, mow-mow OWO
The residence in Moresby will be our temporary home for the next eight weeks - a housesitting 'assignment' where we will look after a very psychotic cat and have seven acres of ground for the OWO to mow!

The home is air-conditioned  (thankfully) and there is a lovely in-ground pool. But more importantly- there is a room that I can use just for stitching.

I didn't expect to have much time for stitching as we had planned to spend most of our time exploring this beautiful tropical region. However, since our arrival in mid March there have been some interesting events that have proven to be somewhat challenging.

At the end of the first week we found ourseleves preparing for a cyclone as TC Debbie approached the NQ coast. Thankfully, for us, "she" kept moving south. Sadly for the people of Bowen, Airlie Beach, Proserpine,  and Mackay, TC Debbie crossed the coast wreaking havoc and causing devastating damage to those areas. Our hearts go out to those people who lost their homes, and businesses.

Once the threat of "Debbie" passed our region we made plans to explore Innisfail and beyond. But again we were stopped in our tracks when I  contracted a severe dose of bronchitis.  Unfortunately there was no chance of my hiking around the hills when I could hardly breathe or stop coughing.

However being grounded had its stitching benefits though - I was able to sit in the comfort of a cool room with a pleasant outlook and work on my hand stitching projects -- between snoozing! There is ALWAYS a sunny positive if you look beyond the grey clouds!!!!

Completed three blocks for On Freedom's Wings

Oh dear!, Taken me so long to get this post published. It seems I will be grounded a little longer than anticipated as the bronchitis attack has turned into pneumonia!!!! Thank goodness I packed all those hand stitching projects!

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Goals Achieved

Oh my! What happened to the month of January.

It was a busy month for this Creative Miss. The month started with a few days in Mackay spending time with our youngest daughter and her family, and enjoying the role of Nanna.

Returning home it was time to deal with the vagaries of life - medical appointments, household and garden maintenance, vehicles services, and re-listing our home on the property market! So many things to get in the way of the important things in life - stitching, crafting, oh, and time in the pool!

With most days hitting temperatures above 35 degrees, it was inevitable that my days would have to be spent in the air-conditioning - even the pool was too warm to cool off with water temp around 30 degrees. So into the 'Woman's Cave' I retired each day for four or five hours. So what did I achieve?

Let's start with the goals I set for January. I did think I would take part in the online UFO project but decided that this year I would set two goals at the beginning of each month. Some of those goals might include some of my PiPs but they would not necessarily be my main goals for this year.

For January I decided it was time to look into setting up an online market shop as my main goal. My second goal was to complete a cot quilt that I had started in 2015.

The cot quilt was finished very quickly using my new "plaything" and I am very pleased with the final result.

It took a little longer to set up my online shop but with a lot of encouragement and support from my two daughters I overcame my nervousness and the end result can be seen at . The very first item I listed for sale was the cot quilt! (Unfortunately after writing this post I received an email to say this online marketplace would be closing in March, so I will have to find another outlet - bummer 😣!)

So despite all the vagaries of real life getting in the way, January goals were achieved. And there was a bonus PiP completed on the very last day of the month - my purple elephants wall hanging. It was actually one of the PiPs in that Dreaded Drawer 3 last year. Wow!!

New goals set for February do not include any PiPs but if I get any finished it will be a bonus.

Readers may have noticed the logo for Aussie Hero Quilts (AHQ) to the right of my posts and you may recall the photos in my post last month of the quilt that I created. My main goal for February was to contact other AHQ stitchers in my area and organise a working bee. With assistance from JM, the Founder and coordinator of AHQ, I have contacted three other ladies who will be joining me for a working bee this month.

Goal number one for February --- ACHIEVED!

Goal number two is a 'mystery' project which is almost complete and will be revealed in my March post.

The month of February has not started well with health issues for me. After a visit to my specialist in January I agreed to start new medication. I had not been on any MS meds since June 2015 and had been doing quite well until our time in Tasmania. But my body deteriorated quite a bit over Christmas and it was time to reconsider my options. Unfortunately after only three weeks on the new meds my body had a severe reaction and I have spent the last three days totally incapacitated. The meds were stopped on Saturday morning and the specialist assures me I should be feeling better by the end of the week.  So hopefully I will be back in the 'Woman's Cave' at the end of this week.

Although I am only setting two goals each month there will be other projects worked on during the month and I will, of course, have a 'show and tell' in my posts.

With only two goals set each month it allows time to work on other things -- maybe some of those projects on my "bucket" list!!!!