Flower fairies and butterflies in stumpwork

I just received my final piece for my stumpwork assessment back from the framer. Having never had anything framed before it was quite a thrill! I'm glad I chose the more expensive frame as it's so beautiful and the floral theme ties in with my piece beautifully. 

I've used a variety of techniques in the piece including my favourite - silk ribbon embroidery.

I can't tell you how much thought, planning, then work went into this but I absolutely love it.

And another homework assessment finished and mounted. This is a blue morpho butterfly.

The wings are all detached and the body embroidered directly onto the fabric.

So now I just need to finish and assemble my samplers and I'm ready for my assessment in a few weeks, how exciting to have come so far! I'm already planning what to learn next and I feel it must involve silk ribbons!

Chocolate and date muffins

3/4 cup pitted and chopped dates
100g butter at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup milk at room temperature
1/2 cup chopped cooking chocolate or choc chips
3/4 cup boiling water
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
1 + 3/4 cup self raising flour

Preheat oven to 180 degrees (C). Line a muffin tin with patty pans (paper cases).
Pour the boiling water onto the chopped dates and add the butter in pieces so that it melts. Stir. 
Add sugar then leave to cool a little.
Mix in the egg, vanilla and soda dissolved in the milk.
Sift flour into the liquid and stir until just combined. Add the chocolate last and stir through lightly.
Half fill your cases for average sized muffin or fill 3/4 for large muffins.
Bake for 15 - 20 minutes or until golden brown.

These are equally good eaten warm or cool. Enjoy!

So much to love

Some random things that are making me happy at the moment (isn't Spring wonderful?!)

Abundant roses.

In so many beautiful shades of colour.

Some new tops for me, and about time too! I brought out the trusty Ottobre 303 pattern again. This one is a round neck.

And my first attempt at a v neck which turned out so well I'll definitely be doing it again.

Life has been such a flurry of sewing, needlework, exercise (yay!), homeschooling, worship, love and art that I rarely seem to be able to share much of it here anymore. I'm enjoying life so much more right now than I have for some time, I'll have to share more about that with you soon.

Until then, thanks for reading....

Craft storage and yummy bread

When I think of creating storage space I dream of beautiful wooden cabinets and ornate armoires bursting with perfectly arranged and inspiring objects. The reality is a homeschooling family (especially with a mad crafter as principal!) will accumulate a lot of stuff and need solutions whatever the family budget may be, which in our case does not allow for armoires!
My solution to our craft tool and paper build up in our dining room/kitchen, where all the schooling action happens, was more plastic drawers. While not as aesthetically pleasing as wood, the price difference is massive.

 The advantage of plastic is having deep, clear drawers, it's accessible to little ones and you won't be  upset at it being banged around a bit. This unit is also on wheels, so simple to move.

I printed out some paper labels to keep track of items in drawers, though little ones who can't read will quickly memorise which drawer holds their precious colouring pencils!

I just finished reading The Rhythmn of Family which is Amanda Soule's latest book and found the wheat, honey and oat bread recipe to be really delicious. The book was interesting as Amanda and her husband have an interesting outlook on life, but I think I gain a lot more inspiration from literature that is God centred rather than nature centred, after all God made nature and I worship Him but not nature itself. Just my opinion, and if you need some motivation within your home life and with your children Amanda's books do help to remind you to get outdoors and appreciate your surroundings as well as live more naturally which is a good thing.

Happy day to you, God bless you all :)

Cubbyhouses and perspective

We spent a lovely afternoon with some friends the other day. My girls had such a great time playing in the beautiful wooden cubbyhouse on the hill, leading to a slide down to the huge sandpit and a big trampoline.
The girls were reluctant to leave, (there is also a playground directly across the road from the house) and as we did a sort of sadness crept over me.

Image credit

We don't have a cubbyhouse or sandpit. Our trampoline is old and coming apart. Our backyard is a fair size by city standards, but there is no room for a swing set or other play equipment.
Yep, I was feeling like we aren't providing for our children well enough because of our financial situation.

And then today I received a letter in the mail that was such a timely reminder that I'm sure God is prodding me! One of my sisters - in - law is a religious sister and currently lives in Kolkata, India. She writes a letter a month and we get a copy. I'm sure she wouldn't mind my sharing these brief extracts from her letter.

"One form of poverty that I can't bear is to see women in raggy clothes that expose their bodies. Sickness, hunger, homelessness don't strip them of their dignity anywhere as much as nakedness does, and when I see them that glimpse remains as a very painful picture in my memory".

"... India which is a mix of great progress and primitive poverty. What is considered normal here is a shock to outsiders".

So I gathered a couple of camping tarps, headed out to the garden and cleared a little patch beneath some branches and between the lavender and arum lilies. One of the tarps went on the ground, the other suspended by branches.

Added a couple of girly faux flowers, patchwork blanket and pretty yarn, and that's it! They were so delighted and I was humbled.

I looked around the garden and gave thanks for the great things we do have, because there are so, so many.

Make do and make a start

I thought I'd share with you a little reality check today. It is easy for us to imagine that people we see on social media, on websites...