A Wounded Spirit

Have you ever had something happen to you that made you feel like you have been crushed internally? That you can hardly breathe because on the depth of pain that is inside? All you can think of doing is crumbling to the floor and sobbing! You don’t want to be with anyone, see anyone, or even hear any words of encouragement from anyone. The hurt is so bad, that you literally feel heavy, despondent, despised, unworthy, useless and no good to anyone. You don’t feel suicidal, but you just know that nothing you can do will make you feel better (well not immediately anyway), you just are too emotionally hurt and sad!

(Proverbs 17:22 NIV) A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
(Proverbs 15:13 NIV) A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.
Prov 18:14 The spirit of a man will sustain him in sickness, But who can bear a broken spirit?

I have had several experiences of brokenness in my life. Each time the crush of the hurt is so overwhelming,  I want to run! I want to get as far away from the person/people that have hurt me, and never have anything to do with them again….EVER!!! Just the thought of the experience brings all the pain and emotion of the moment straight back to the present. And, I feel that deep sorrow all over again. It is just awful! Tears well up and I feel so sad inside.

My immediate response is that I want to be alone. I don’t want to ever let myself be in a position where I can be vulnerable and open to being hurt again. I don’t want to be in any environment that I don’t feel safe, by just being me! So out come the walls of protection. I gain the ability to be around people but never let them get close enough to cause pain. Now remember, this isn’t physical pain, like a broken bone, or a bump that causes a bruise. This is an emotional pain that is so deep, that you feel the only one you can trust with your heart is yourself.

The last time I felt such deep hurt like this was about 5 years ago, that was until yesterday! And I am sad to say that the damage of the moment, is still just as real and raw as the first time I experienced that deep wounding in my spirit, in the part of me that makes me, me!

And here I am just 24 hours later and I have survived, once again. I’m not totally over the incident. When I think about what happened, I can easily feel that hurt coming back, but it is losing it’s power over my well being! How, you ask? Because if you are human and living around other humans, you are bound to get hurt, just like I did yesterday. So you too may have experienced the wounding deep in your spirit as well.

(Psalm 34:18 NIV) The LORD is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit

Have a read of the link below, and then come back to me :

https://www.gotquestions.org/Bible-brokenness.html

Does God care about my (or your) brokenness? You bet! He is close to us and he saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18). Ultimately though we have the choice. (1) We can wallow in our hurt and self pity, or (2) we can choose to invite God into our pain, and bring healing. Sounds easy but believe me it’s not.

(1) We can let the painful circumstances of life embitter us, and in a way that is the easy path, because somehow re-living the moment helps to remind us that our feelings are justified. We can blame the other person for making us feel that way! In an unhealthy way, by withdrawing from people, because people hurt, you are heaping more suffering upon yourself. The other people involved are continuing to walk the walk of life, without giving you a second thought, while you suffer, and continue to suffer!

(2) Or you can address the problem full on. Ask yourself why the event happened, what led up to it, and were you yourself responsible in any way. Could you have done things differently? Then decide that whether you are an innocent victim or not, you have the ability to forgive those involved and move on in your own life. If you can’t forgive because the pain is so real and raw, then pray. Invite God into the pain! He gives us the grace to forgive others even when you feel they don’t deserve the forgiveness, or when you can’t forgive them in your own strength.

A quote from that link says…  God can take what has been broken and remake it into something better, something that He can use for His glory.

Another quote… The solution can never come from our own efforts or striving, but comes only from Him. Only when we recognize our need for God are we able to take our eyes off ourselves and focus them on God and Jesus Christ. Only when we stop thinking about ourselves and start thinking about what Jesus did for us can we begin to heal. Only when we admit our need and ask God into our life, can God begin to make us whole. Only when we confess that we are broken can God make us into what He wants us to be. Once we let go of self and place God at the center of our lives, everything else falls into place (Matthew 6:33)

Knowing the character of God and His desire to reconcile all man to Himself, helps to understand that reconciliation, where possible, is the best answer. In the past, I have withdrawn from people that I saw as hurtful and unsafe to be with, for long periods of time. I just couldn’t trust them again with my heart. But as I’ve got older and wiser (am I kidding myself?), I’ve realized that it is not God’s way. He desires reconciliation.

My first choice of action, once I have had time to recover from the shock of the ordeal, is to talk to God, and pour out my pain to Him. I pray/cry/shout out the injustice, and tell Him all about my pain. The next thing I do (maybe not immediately) is apologise to the person/people that have hurt me. Whether I am the guilty party or not is irrelevant, taking ownership of the event that took place is a key. Because actually, it wouldn’t have happened if you weren’t there! So in a way you are also responsible. Also, the act of apologizing opens up the communication again. I didn’t want to even be in the same room as the person who hurt me two days ago (it has taken me a couple of days to write this), but yesterday, we sat together and talked about the differences in our personalities, how we react to situations differently, and that we still love each other in spite of our differences. And there was healing! We both admitted that we had a really bad sleep the night of the event! So we were both affected by it! Thank God it is now sorted and finished with.

Sadly, other times you make offer of an apology, and try to reconcile and open up the lines of communication again, but the other party isn’t interested. Five years ago that happened to me. Instead of seeking reconciliation, they justified their actions, got defensive, and made little acknowledgement of the pain involved in the whole process. Well certainly not mine. I felt of no value to them and that I wasn’t worth the effort of being loved and understood through the pain. They were prepared to lose my friendship and move on in life without me. And that hurt! But knowing that I was prepared to have a relationship with them again, brought me freedom to move on with my life. I now see them regularly and it doesn’t hurt. I want them to have a great life, but I am aware that we will possibly never be as close as we once were. Maybe our friendship was just for a season and it came to a natural end. Living through the painful events that caused the breakdown was horrendous, and I can still remember the grief it all caused. But by chosing to forgive, and then to continue living, and loving others, has brought healing.

Some relationships that end rather painfully, and forgiveness has been sought, and reconciliation has been made, may still never continue as they did in the past. But that is okay if reconciliation has happened. Neither has been left with the wounds of the past unhealed. Sometimes, the unhealthy thing to do, is to actually to try to continue with the relationship. As long as there are no bad feelings or wrong attitudes held against the other person/people. You can just continue to pray for them and ask God to bless their lives.

Today I feel great, and although sad the event happened two days ago, I am at peace with the outcome. We will continue our friendship and value each other whole heartedly. And love each other.

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16)

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1 John 4:7-8)

A new commandment I give to you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. (John 13:34 & 35)

And…. thank you Instagram, p31obs

Praising God always helps with healing for me. And the words in the song are very important. My latest listen is this song. I hope it can help you too x

https://youtu.be/YNqo4Un2uZI

Star Quilt

I’m a real Pinterest fan, and I love getting my inspiration for making quilts from other peoples designs. I See a picture of a finished quilt I really like, and then follow through to the web page of the creator of it. I look to see if there are instructions for making a similar quilt, and then try it our for myself. This is probably the reason why I like to write up my quilt making process, and load up some photos. I hope that someone is helped along their quilting journey, by checking out my posts on pamperstamper, or some other persons blog.

The link below was the quilt I fell in love with, and decided to copy. If you open up the link you will see that there are wonderful and descriptive instructions on how to make this design. I have also taken photos of the journey of creating my quilt. You will see the similarity 🙂

Charming Stars Quilt

1. Pick your colours. Cut out all the squares, and place them in the way that they look their best to you
2. Four of the squares in each block will need the smaller squares sewn into two corners
3. Continue to sew the smaller squares into the same patterned material. Trim to sewn edge and iron flat
4. You will end up with a pile of stitched and unstitched squares that will create your block
5. Join the rows of three squares and iron the seams in the same direction for the top row and bottom row, but the other direction for the middle row. This will help the next lot of stitching line up easier
6. You now have a completed block. Continue to do the same with the rest of the blocks for the whole quilt
7. I used the little squares that were cut off the corners to fill in between each block, and also strips of the same material as the star. In my quilt I chose white
8. Continue to join all the blocks in rows using the white strips. Make a joiner row using just the while strips and little blocks, and then join all the rows together
9. Now you can border, layer, and bind your quilt.
10. I chose to topstitch my quilt by outlining the stars and blocks. I was kind of pleased with how the back of the quilt looked. It had a pattern of it’s own

Can you believe how easy it is to make that wonderful star pattern block with just 9 initial squares of material? Having the centre block, the little squares that are cut to make the points, and the strips the same colour makes the stars stand out. This could be a great quilt for using up lots of scrap material. You could make the quilt using different materials for every block.

Maybe I could make that next time?

Now if I have encouraged you to try making this patterned quilt for yourself, please let me know how you got on. A photo of the finished product would be great. I look forward to your response.

Chevron patterned Quilt

I’ve always loved the Chevron pattern. I have made two crochet blankets in a chevron pattern, and now I have also made a chevron patchwork blanket.

My first chevron crochet blanket.
The chevron pattern looks great!

This blanket was suppose to be for our youngest Grandson. He was born November 2016. I made it in pure New Zealand wool, but it ended up being so heavy. I would have to pay a fortune in postage to get it to London, where he lives. My eldest daughter now uses this blanket at work. On a cold day it is perfect to wrap around her legs and keep her toastie warm.

Great colours for a little baby boy 🙂
This photo shows the colours better

This was my next attempt, and I am really pleased with how it turned out. I made it out of acrylic, which is really great for wash and wear. It was also much lighter and cheaper for postage 🙂

Look how snuggly this blanket turned out! Little grandson is tucked up nice and warm in his Nana made blankie.

Now onto sewing Chevron. It is actually a whole lot easier than it looks. In fact with patchwork, there are often little secrets to the sewing that make the whole process a lot easier than you think. Thank goodness for that, because, by nature I am a rather impatient person, and to have shortcuts really suits my personality.

Here is the process I used to create my quilt.

Start off with two piles of square cut materials. One pile is plain fabric. I used calico. The other pile has a number of each colour. The amount depends on how big you want to make your quilt
Place the two squares together, good sides facing each other, and sew a quarter inch seam right around the outside joining the two pieces of material together
Using a cutting mat and quilting ruler, cut diagonally in both directions
You will end up with 4 new squares from each of the original squares. These ones have a join in the middle and have two different materials
Once all the squares are cut and pressed, lay them all out to work out the pattern and colour scheme you want
Sew each row together and iron the seams one way on one row, and in the opposite direction on the next row.
I keep the rows in order as I sew, so it is easier for ironing and joining
Now you sew the rows together. As you sew them together, you will notice that they fit together nicely when the seams are ironed opposite.
once the mail chevron pattern is sewn together, you can pick how you would like to border the quilt. Put the layers together and do your top stitching
I’m lucky to have a lovely big craft room with two big tables that I can spread my quilts out on. This makes putting the layers together a little easier. I love the curved safety pins that I can use to temporarily hold all three layers together while I do my topstitching.
I do all the topstitching with my cheap brother sewing machine. It has served me well, I can tell you. I roll up the quilt, and slowly feed it through as I sew. This is a process that requires lots of perserverance and patience. I do my own topstitching as I am too scroogey to pay for it to be done professionally. I’m quite happy with the finished effect.
The finished product

To finish my quilt, I did multiple rows of stitching on the outside border. I then sewed the binding on and it was complete. I love it and it has become my quilt that is used the most. I can just throw it in the washer and it comes out great. A very practical quilt that is pretty to look at as well 🙂

I hope you can follow my instructions and create your own Chevron Quilt. You can finish it off to your own liking. Please post a photo of yours in the comments below. I would love to see what you create.

Pink Minnie Mouse Cake

I thought it would be great to show you the process I used to make Ella’s 4th birthday cake.

I decided to make her a vanilla cake. It is nice and plain and yet moist and tastes yummy. I doubled the mixture and it cooked nicely in 50 minutes.

Next was to even the cake, make it level and cover with butter cream icing.

Once covered with the buttercream icing, I put the whole cake into the fridge to harden the butter so I could smooth the icing ready for the fondant.

I was a little worried here as the cake was very cold and the fondant once rolled and placed on the cake, sweated and went quite shiny. It actually worked well for adding the next layer of fondant.

White fondant placed on top of the pink, so that the Minnie mouse face will eventually stand out. I just cut it with a wavy edge.

The next step was to print out an outline of Minnie mouse a few times and then cut out the layers on the paper. These layers were placed on the coloured and rolled out fondant and cut out with a sharp tipped knife. I was pretty pleased with how easy it was to do, and how it all fitted back together.

This was going to be my finished product, but I just wasn’t happy with the bow. It should be white spots not green!

I was suppose to put a lot of white dots in various sizes around the sides of the cake, but decided that little flowers would be prettier.

Ella is pretty happy with her first look at her cake.
I brought the correct ribbon and made my own hair clip bow for the top of the cake. Bonus was that Ella has now got two bow clips to wear 🙂

The new pink bow with white spots looked great! I added white lettering to say Happy Birthday and a pretty pink number 4 candle. Around the bottom edge of the cake I rolled little balls of pink and white fondant and placed them all around.

Ella’s pink Minnie mouse cake

It turned out great, and Ella was very happy with her cake. You don’t even have to have lots of cake decorating products. I have a mat that I purchased from Ikea to roll the fondant on. This mat can roll up with the fondant on it, and then I unroll the fondant over the top of the cake. I guess that mat is my one purchase that I can’t do without. The playdoh letter cutters have been used many times, and they aren’t even sold as cake decorating things. The rest can be cut out with a paper pattern and a sharp tipped knife.

I hope that you are encouraged to give this cake a try. Let me know how yours turns out. Maybe you can add a photo of yours in the comments 🙂

Cake Creations over the past 2 years

Since late 2015, I have had three of my grand children living here at home. Our third son, their Dad is living here too. The empty nest didn’t stay empty for long! So I am back to having a pre-school child back in the house, and two primary aged kiddies, and I love it. Just when we were slowing down, and getting a little selfish with our time, we now have these wonderful children to help us to think young again, and give us plenty to do 😉

And I have had the opportunity to once again create some children’s birthday cakes. The first grandchild’s cake I made was actually for Sophie, who lives in London. Her daddy and her came for a months holiday and she was turning one just after she arrived back in London. I wanted to give her a New Zealand birthday as well. I found a very cute birthday party set of cups, plates, napkins and table cloth of a pink ladybug. I copied the picture of the bug and made that the design for the cake.

The table decorations and the cake
I made some cupcakes as well, and we needed balloons, of course
The birthday cake banner

The first of the three who live here was the oldest of the three, Jayden. He turned 10 late January, 2016. He is really into minecraft! He watches you tube videos of people playing the game, plays it on the PS3 and talks about minecraft all the time!

Here is his cake.

Cake number 1.

This was such an easy cake to make. Just a simple round cake, green fondant with little fondant squares cut out in various shades of green, fondant letters cut with playdoh cutters, and minecraft ‘lego like’ blocks. Jayden also liked creeper and wanted a minecraft creeper cake, so I made him an extra cake as well. This was a pretty simple cake to make as well.

Minecraft cake number 2

Next birthday was just one week later and that was Ella. I had decided on making her a Barbie cake with the doll in the cake and the cake as a dress. Daughter Joanna brought the Barbie doll while I made the cake. Once putting them together I realized that to get to doll to fit the cake, I would need to cut her legs off, or make an extra cake to make the dress part bigger. It was getting late into the night and I had a bright idea to use doilys instead. Ella was turning two, and I didn’t think that she would be too fussy, she just wanted a cake. He is how it turned out 😉

With a bit of imagination, I extended the dress for Barbie 😉

And with the added cupcakes for the party.

Ella’s cake and cupcakes

Ella was a very happy little girl and I was quite happy with the finished product.

The next birthday was in the May, when Christian was turning 7. Look at his cake! It was a big one!

Super Hero Theme

I had so much fun making this cake. I had brought the party supplies from Spotlight so decided to make the cake to go with the table decorations. Christian loved it. He is a very active little boy and it suited his personality totally. We even went to a indoor trampoline park for his party. He and his friends jumped around like superheros the whole party!

Skip the rest of the year, and we are now back to Jayden’s Birthday. This time his 11th. The theme for this party was Pokémon. This kid collects Pokémon cards, and has about 4 albums full of them! He also likes, and knows the names of heaps of the Pokémon characters. So it HAD to be a Pokémon cake and themed party.

We started off Jayden’s birthday with a Pokeball hunt. Each Pokeball had a little character inside.
The Pokemon party table and decorations
Jayden’s Pokemon cake

So, I am now getting lots of practice making Birthday cakes again. The week after Jayden’s birthday is Ella’s birthday. This time (after searching Pinterest) I decided in making her a princess themed birthday, making her cake out of lots of cupcakes. It was lots of fun, and I had to stop myself from putting too many decorations on the cake!

Princess Ella’s pretty princess cupcake dress cake
The Princess party table and decorations

For Ella’s birthday celebration, we went to the movie Ballerina with some friends. Ella had party bags to give her friends at the movie.

Party bags for Ella’s princess party. We even went to the movie Ballerina, and the girls were able to eat the goodies during the movie.

After Ella’s birthday in the February, I travelled to Sydney for Grandson Luke’s 3rd birthday. Now, I didn’t make this cake, but his Mummy did, and she did a great job. Luke loved his cake and he had a wonderful birthday party.

Happy Luke with his Cars cake!

In May 2017, came Christian’s 8th birthday. By now I’m loving Pinterest! And as I was looking for easy boys cakes, I found this one! It became the theme for his birthday, and presents!

The Incredible Hulk Cake. And a very happy Christian 🙂
Incredible Hulk hands around the cake!

2018 came along pretty quickly, and I have now made another two birthday cakes. First is Jayden again late January. He turned 12 this year, and decided that he was quite happy with having a plain cake rather than a themed and decorated cake. Phew! He still had to have a cake though. And this is what I came up with. He was happy 🙂

A nice simply iced cake

His cake had two layers. A Vanilla cake for one layer and a chocolate cake for the other. I put the layers together, and iced all over, with vanilla buttercream icing. Broken flake chocolate for the top, number 12 candles, Jaffas (chocolate/orange lollies) around the bottom edge and it was finished! It lasted all of two days!

While shopping in Spotlight one day, I came across a pink Minnie Mouse party pack and decided that as Ella has a Minnie Mouse that she cuddles and plays with a lot. Pink Minnie Mouse should be her birthday theme! I also brought some Pink Minnie Mouse Curtains and decided that I could definitely make something out of them to fit the theme of the party.

Ella’s pink Minnie mouse cake
Pink minnie mouse theme
Decorated for Ella to wake up to on her birthday morning
Before the food and cake was brought in. Cute pink minnie mouse plates etc. Look at our cute Ella minnie mouse!
The pretty pink minnie mouse skirts. I made 5 of them. One for each of the little girls that came to her party.

After her party and an all afternoon play at Rumpus Room indoor playground in New Plymouth, Ella thanked her little friends with her own little gift. In their gift bags were lots of Minnie mouse games and girly things, like bangles and ear rings and hair ribbons. Then they each got their skirts. We had 5 little pink Minnie mouse girls running around the playground, and 3 boys. They had a great time. I did too. All the preparation of food, serving the food, party games and clean up was provided by Rumpus room! So good 🙂

Christmas 2017

This Christmas has been wonderful! I have had all of my 6 adult/children home, along with their partners and children. The only one missing was our beautiful eldest grand daughter. She lives in Sydney, is starting a full time job as a nurse this March, and because of work commitments over the holidays, she had to stay home. She was certainly missed!

To get most of our family in one place and at the same time is a miracle!

We have one son, with his wife and two children, living in London; We have another living in Sydney, with his wife and three children; We have another son, and his wife, based in Sydney, but travelling all over the world; We have another son, and his three children, living here at home with us; We have a daughter living in Auckland, New Zealand; And we have another daughter living in our home town who is in the process of building a new home. Can you see how amazing it has been to actually get them all home?

We have had 17 of us living together over the holidays, and actually 18 for a couple of nights. My home has been full, and I have been so happy. A happiness that fills me to overflowing. It’s so hard to describe, but I feel like I am in love with each of my family members all over again! They are all great people, and I am so proud of each and every one of them. I am so happy with how they all embraced the time together, and how they all loved each other in spite of all the differences between us.

In honour of having us all together, I wanted to have a few family photos taken. I love photos, and the memory moments they give us all, forever! My eldest daughter is a very talented photographer (and the second to eldest as well), so we arranged a time, and a place, and Joanna took some photos. The last time we managed to get group photos taken was in December 2009. We have had four more grand children born since then, so I felt we really needed an updated photo.

Family photo from December 2009
Family photo from January 2018

Oh my, we have all aged in the last 8 or so years! But those years have been great, and we have all matured in personality, character and experiences. I can imagine the many stories each can tell from those past 8 years.

Our 4 grand children from December 2009
Our Grand children from January 2018. Our eldest grand daughter is missing from the photo.

The three eldest in the back row are the three with our eldest grand daughter in the photo above this one! Four more grand children added and three of them were born in 2014 in February, March and April!  Three grand children born within three months 🙂 The youngest grandson turned one last November.

If you have visited my blog before, you will see that I now have a new blog header (that is the photo you see when you get to my site) and that header is our new family portrait! That is my whole family, minus 2! Our eldest grand daughter and one daughter in law are missing, but all of my adult children are in there, and their families.

I love it!

 

Addiction!

This video is adapted from Johann Hari’s New York Times best-selling book ‘Chasing The Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs.’

This video came up on my Facebook feed and I found it so very interesting. I wanted to share it on my blog, to see if others may find it just as thought provoking and helpful as I did.

My opinion after listening to the video…

Loneliness and disconnection is horrible, and can have a horrendous outcome on a persons life. We all need to feel we are loved, we belong, we are accepted and we have a sense of purpose. Withdrawing into isolation from others is a reaction, and the alternative is the need to be proactive in a positive way. To turn your life around can be very challenging for those who already feel inferior, unaccepted and worthless. Extremely challenging for those who have already opened the door to addiction as a way of escape to the daily pain that life brings them.

A desire to change takes commitment, lots of loving support, choosing to be vulnerable, and also huge bravery! You can’t do it alone! Building new relationships with the right people is a huge step forward. Good counselling, loving family and positive friendships! But the warning I give is that we should never allow others to give you your self esteem. If they can give it to you, they can also take it from you! We are all damaged people. Life can be amazingly wonderful, but it can also be cruel! What we put into a relationship comes not only from our choice to be the best to another and love them totally, but also from our life experiences, good and bad. And we make mistakes! We are human and that is one of the conditions of being human!

Praise God He loves us unconditionally, and as we are! He never gives up on us or leaves us. In Him we are loved, belong, are accepted and our life has purpose 🙂 To have a personal relationship with God is solid! It’s like having your house built on solid ground. When the storms of life come, you can rest assured that your faith in this loving God, will help you stand firm. ‘For God so loved the world (everyone… even you), that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life (NKJV). We are all equal at the foot of the cross! Everyone! There is no bias!

I know there are lot of people that disagree with me about faith in God, but no-one can argue with the peace that I have from knowing who I am in Christ 🙂 I have no fear for the future as my life is in His hands 🙂 He is my hope for the future and my ever present help for today.

 

Scrapbooking while in Sydney November 2015

I know…   I know…  I seem to always be in Sydney 🙂

Eldest son Matthew and his wife had a trip to Las Vegas for a conference and some fun as well, and I am here to look after the two youngest grandchildren. The eldest is now 18 and very independent. She is studying to be a nurse, has a part time job and drives herself everywhere 🙂 I am feeling extra blessed to be spending time with baby Luke, who is actually not so much of a baby now. He is 19 months old and such a happy and busy boy. I’ve had so much fun with him 🙂

Luke loved playing with the hose on the trampoline :-)
Luke loved playing with the hose on the trampoline 🙂

And Casey has been such a great little girl while Mum and a Dad have been away. Every morning she got up and got herself organised for school, including making her own lunch. I had the priviledge of doing her hair some mornings 🙂

Just one of the hair styles (a little messy), But I did french plait as well :-)
Just one of the hair styles (a little messy), But I did french plait as well 🙂

I love to be productive no matter where I am, so while Luke has his afternoon sleep, and once the children are in bed at night, I have been scrapbooking. I love the feeling I get from creating a page and being able to finally look at the finished product. Mostly the pages are finished, but as I don’t have all my embellishments here with me, there will be a few little extra things I will add when I get back home.

This page was made using the scraps left over from an Echo Park Kit. It was lots of fun to make and looks great (well I think so anyway) The grandsons are so cute :-)
This page was made using the scraps left over from an Echo Park Kit. It was lots of fun to make and looks great (well I think so anyway) The grandsons are so cute 🙂
A fun photo taken at St Ives in Sydney. Paper use is Echo Park.
A fun photo taken at St Ives in Sydney. Paper use is Echo Park.
A portrait photo of Leeara and Jessica taken a few years ago.
A portrait photo of Leeara and Jessica taken a few years ago.
Simon and his boys Jayden and Christian. This page is mainly made with Echo Park papers.
Simon and his boys Jayden and Christian. This page is mainly made with Echo Park papers.
Christian talking to Uncle Ben on the phone on his 4th birthday. Created with Bella! papers and some Echo Park.
Christian talking to Uncle Ben on the phone on his 4th birthday. Created with Bella! papers and some Echo Park.
Leeara in Uniform and going to School. Her irst year at Willoughby High School. Page using Basic Grey and Bella! papers.
Leeara in Uniform and going to School. Her First year at Willoughby High School. Page using Basic Grey and Bella! papers.
At Dreamworld on the Gold Coast. Page created with Teresa Collins Papers, Tell your story :-)
At Dreamworld on the Gold Coast. Page created with Teresa Collins Papers, Tell your story 🙂
Beautiful eldest daughter Joanna at her graduation. Pages used are Echo Park, This and that.
Beautiful eldest daughter Joanna at her graduation. Pages used are Echo Park, This and that.
Photo of Leeara when she was about 8 years old. Papers are Echo Park.
Photo of Leeara when she was about 8 years old. Papers are Echo Park.
Jessica and Leeara on a quad bike! papers are Fancy Pants Designs, childish things.
Jessica and Leeara on a quad bike! papers are Fancy Pants Designs, childish things.
My friend Julie and myself after a bike ride. Relaxing with a coffee and chat :-) Echo Park papers, this and that.
My friend Julie and myself after a bike ride. Relaxing with a coffee and chat 🙂 Echo Park papers, this and that.
Another Leeara page. I'm trying to catch up on completing her album. this page was created using a Kaisercraft Kit.
Another Leeara page. I’m trying to catch up on completing her album. this page was created using a Kaisercraft Kit.
Another page using a Kaisercraft Kit. This one of Jayden and Christian while on holiday in New Plymouth.
Another page using a Kaisercraft Kit. This one of Jayden and Christian while on holiday in New Plymouth.
Christian on his 4th birthday using Bella! papers.
Christian on his 4th birthday using Bella! papers.
Our Scrapbooking Christmas party about 2 years ago.
Our Scrapbooking Christmas party about 2 years ago.
Photo taken 10 years ago. Page created with Authentique Paper, and the Delightful Kit.
Photo taken 10 years ago. Page created with Authentique Paper, and the Delightful Kit.

I still have another two days left in Sydney and then it’s back home to get my gardens tidied up. I really want to get our vegetable garden producing some great vegetables for us over the summer. So it will be all go once I get home, and no time for Scrapbooking!

I wonder if I manage to produce another page or two before I leave?

I did it! Two more pages 🙂

Leeara amd Jess with their milk mustaches. Teresa Collins papers.
Leeara and Jess with their milk mustaches. Teresa Collins papers.
These girls love having a face mask together. Echo Park paper
These girls love having a face mask together. Echo Park paper

And now it’s time to pack my bags!

 

The Seasons Of Life

Our family has just had a huge celebration! My Dad had his birthday and it certainly was one to celebrate. He turned 90 years old! That’s right 90! Not only was the age worth celebrating, but my Dad as a person needed celebrating as well. He is an amazing person! Always has been! I have been very blessed having him as my Dad. He is the best Dad a person could have (I’m not biased at all)

IMG_8296
My Wonderful Dad!

Of course I had to make him a cake for the occasion 🙂

My second attempt at making a cake using fondant. The first was for my youngest daughters 21st.
My second attempt at making a cake using fondant. The first was for my youngest daughters 21st.

We had the party at my eldest sisters place, and us four girls and my sister in law made all the food for afternoon tea. People arrived from 1pm and stayed until approximately 6pm. At one point there were 80 people wandering around the gardens or sitting and chatting!  Dad had a great time catching up to old friends and family.

Cheers Dad! You are worth celebrating!
Cheers Dad! You are worth celebrating!

Mum felt just as special as Dad did, after all they are ‘one’ really, after 67 years of marriage 🙂

Ohhhh that's cute :-)
Ohhhh that’s cute 🙂

Only two of my adult children and their family were able to come to the party. My eldest sisters daughter came, along with her family as well. And, my brothers son came too.

Mum and Dad with all the grandchildren and great grandchildren that came to Dad's party.
Mum and Dad with all the grandchildren and great grandchildren that came to his party.

It was so good to be able to have all our immediately family together again. A great opportunity to get a group photo!

From Left to right - Myself (the baby of the family), Kerry (2 years older than me), Dad, Mum, Judy the eldest, Lynday (two years younger than Judy), and Rodney (the middle child and only boy of the family)
From Left to right – Myself (the baby of the family), Kerry (2 years older than me), Dad, Mum, Judy the eldest, Lynda (two years younger than Judy), and Rodney (the middle child and only boy of the family)

So I titled this post ‘The seasons of life’, because of the fact that my Dad and Mum are in the ‘Winter’ season of their lives. Thankfully they are well and still having a great time of ‘living’, although Mum is a little slower nowadays. I really can’t imagine life without my precious Mum and Dad to chat to, have our weekly family dinner time together, and have their continued input into my life. I have been blessed to have them both as my parents, and I am so very thankful.

Both Robin and myself (and all my siblings) are now in the ‘Autumn’ season. The times of our lives have gone so fast. When I was younger and surrounded with lots of children, each demanding my time and energy in some way or another, and I was frequently tired; people used to say to me that these years would pass before you knew it, and your children would be all grown up and left home. In fact, sadly, because of the busyness of life, I often wished that those years of freedom would come sooner. Now, I would love to go back in time and live through those years again. It was a wonderful life and I loved being a Mum to my young children. I loved the feeling of being vitally important in their lives. Now they are individuals, adults that are making their own way in life. Each unique personality doing it their own way, and I am so proud of them all. I am still important to them, but in a completely different way. And that is healthy. That is the way it should be!

Celebrate the seasons of life people. They move along so fast, they really do!  Memorise as many moments as you can along the way. Take heaps of photos, and journal your life. It will all be great to look back on, especially as you enter the less energetic seasons of life.

Yet in this Autumn season, there is still so much to look forward to. Robin and I now have the ability to make decisions about our lives, that no longer impact our ‘children’ like they used to. We can make plans for holidays together, have evenings out regularly, and generally do as we please. Does this sound selfish? I see it as a reward for selflessly parenting our children first and foremost during their formative years, and into adulthood. We can now become a ‘couple’ again, and enjoy the wonders of discovering life together as a couple.

Yes! This season of life is great!

PS…. As part of my celebrating ‘who I am’ in my Autumn years, I have decided to let my grey show! It has been a great topic of discussion, I can tell you. But I am happy with who I am. I don’t feel the need to impress anyone, or feel I need to try to keep young looking. I am actually loving my hair, and wish it was actually white all over. And you know what…. it is very freeing 🙂

The Creative Juices Are Flowing

There is nothing like a baby being born to get me in the mood to create!

Over the years I have made hundreds (a slight exaggeration) of bibs, cuddle blankets, leggings, little tops, cardigans and bootees. And, if you search through my past blog entries you will see that for my youngest three grandchildren, I made each of them a crochet blanket, and I also made them patchwork ones.

Robins niece had her second little baby girl on the 18th of April. It’s nearly a month later, and today I finally popped in to meet little Fable and give her our gift! I spent all day yesterday finishing the blanket off, and it turned out great! (even if I must say so myself) I was so happy with the finished blanket that I thought I would share the process with you, my reader. There are often little tricks with Patchwork that make something that looks very complicated, actually quite easy to put together. Of course the material choices make quite a difference to the finished product as well, and that is often trial and error. Luckily the combination of fabrics looked great this time.

Awhile ago Spotlight had a sale on and I purchased 8 different materials that would blend together, and about a quarter of a metre of each one. I then purchased two different plain fabrics that matched one of the colours in the fabric pieces. I got approximately a metre and a half or two metres of this solid colour fabric.

So here are the instructions…

Firstly I cut the 8 different materials into 3 inch strips (each is the full width of the material). I then match two groups of four strips. Here are the blue/green strips.
Firstly I cut the 8 different materials into 3 inch strips (each is the full width of the material). I then match two groups of four strips. Here are the blue/green strips.
Keep the colours in order I sew them together with a quarter inch seam.
Keeping the colours in order, I sew them together with a quarter inch seam.
The last of the pink/yellow selection sewn together.
The last of the pink/yellow selection sewn together.
And you end up with two long strips, each of four different materials. Please note these have been pressed neatly. I have my iron out and going the whole time I sew, and press the materials frequently.
And you end up with two long strips, each of four different materials. Please note these have been pressed neatly. I have my iron out and going the whole time I sew, and press the materials frequently.
Now to measure and cut. Even up the ends of the strips first.
Now to measure and cut. Even up the ends of the strips first.
You need to cut the material up as wide as it is high, right along the long strip. I got four big squares off each one.
You need to cut the material up as wide as it is high, right along the long strip. I got four big squares off each one.
Here are the two groups of four squares.
Here are the two groups of four squares.
Keeping the patterns in order line them up beside each other with one colour group having its stripes going at a 90 degree angle.
Keeping the patterns in order line them up beside each other with one colour group having its stripes going at a 90 degree angle.
Put the two different ones together with the right sides facing each other and sew a quarter inch seam right around the outside of the square.
Put the two different ones together with the right sides facing each other and sew a quarter inch seam right around the outside of the square.
Sew neatly around the outside edge :-)
Sew neatly around the outside edge 🙂
From corner to corner cut with your rotary blade, then spin around and cut the opposite diagonal.
From corner to corner cut with your rotary blade, then spin around and cut the opposite diagonal.
You should end up with your large square cut into four like this!
You should end up with your large square cut into four like this!
Press the seams and turn over. Voila! Look at that! Aren't they so pretty! These four have been placed making a little mixed square in the centre.
Press the seams and turn over. Voila! Look at that! Aren’t they so pretty! These four have been placed making a little mixed square in the centre.
Or you could place them with the little triangles to the outer corner. Or you could mix them up totally. The last way is extremely hard to keep control of when sewing together. I get lost! So I kind of like to still have some order (among the chaos).
Or you could place them with the little triangles to the outer corner. Or you could mix them up totally. The last way is extremely hard to keep control of when sewing together. I get lost! So I kind of like to still have some order (among the chaos).
Once all four big squares have been cut up, place them together again in the way that you want to sew them up.
Once all four big squares have been cut up, place them together again in the way that you want to sew them up.
Sew up each row making sure to press the seams once finished.
Sew up each row making sure to press the seams once finished.
Then sew the four rows together. Don't they look pretty :-)
Then sew the four rows together. Don’t they look pretty 🙂
On this blanket I chose the green with little pink flowers for the first border. Sew on the top and bottom first and then the edges. Make sure to slightly stretch the material as you sew. This makes it easier for the quilt to keep shape, and for the top stitching later on.
On this blanket I chose the green with little pink flowers for the first border. Sew on the top and bottom first and then the edges. Make sure to slightly stretch the border material as you sew. This makes it easier for the quilt to keep shape, and for the top stitching later on.
My next border was a very cute yellow tree pattern sewn exactly the same way as the green border.
My next border was a very cute yellow tree pattern sewn exactly the same way as the green border.
Because this is a smallish quilt (or blanket) there is no need to top stitch through all layers. On this one I have added the wadding to the back, and if you look closely, I have top stitched through both of the layers. This keeps the blanket looking neat and holding together well after many washes. There are many ways that you can top stitch on a quilt. I have just made quarter inch lines alongside the seams and it looks very tidy.
Because this is a smallish quilt (or blanket) there is no need to top stitch through all layers. On this one I have added the wadding to the back, and if you look closely, I have top stitched through both of the layers. This keeps the blanket looking neat and holding together well after many washes. There are many ways that you can top stitch on a quilt. I have just made quarter inch lines along each side of the seams and it looks very tidy.
Now I have added the backing and finished the outer rows of top stitch through all the three layers.
Now I have added the backing and finished the outer rows of top stitch through all the three layers.
The next stage is the binding. I cut three inch strips and joined them together to make one big long strip. Fold it in half and iron the fold.
The next stage is the binding. I cut three inch strips and joined them together to make one big long strip. Fold it in half and iron the fold.
With the cut edges together sew the binding on stopping about a quarter of an inch from the corner and sew diagonally off the edge.
With the cut edges together sew the binding on stopping about a quarter of an inch from the corner and sew diagonally off the edge.
Turn the cloth around and fold the binding to have a straight edge along the top, then just recommence sewing the seam.
Turn the cloth around and fold the binding to have a straight edge along the top, then just recommence sewing the seam.
Iron the binding out from the edge and fold it around to the back. At the corners fold the binding in the same way as you did when you were sewing and they will just fit together nicely. I then stitch in the ditch on the front of the blanket, and it catches the back and sews the binding down neatly. you can hand stitch this part if you want the stitching to be completely hidden.
Iron the binding out from the edge and fold it around to the back. At the corners fold the binding in the same way as you did when you were sewing and they will just fit together nicely. I then stitch in the ditch on the front of the blanket, and it catches the back and sews the binding down neatly. you can hand stitch this part if you want the stitching to be completely hidden.
And here are the two quilts that I made in two days. I must admit that each one took all day, but they were wet days and not a lot else could be achieved, except housework! And that is always there anyway!
And here are the two quilts that I made in two days. I must admit that each one took all day, but they were wet days and not a lot else could be achieved, except housework! And that is always there to do anyway!
All folded up ready to be given to two very special little babies. Fable got the green edged one, and Zoe got the pink edged one.
All folded up ready to be given to two very special little babies. Fable got the green edged one, and Zoe got the pink edged one.

Now I find that there is no greater pleasure than to give a gift that you have hand crafted. I pour my love into the blanket as I sew it up and I imagine the little baby that I am making it for, laying on it, kicking their little feet happily. I pray a little blessing on the child and hope that the Mummy enjoys seeing her child playing on the pretty blanket.

I also get a great sense of satisfaction seeing how the colours and patterns fit together. These two blankets had the inside panels the same and yet the outside borders were completely different creating a unique blanket for each child.

I hope that the instructions are clear enough and you can now be bold enough to attempt your very own patchwork quilt or blanket. Let me know how it goes! Send me a photo of your one finished so I can enjoy the colours and patterns that  you have created.

ENJOY 🙂