About Me

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With the help of my friends, I co-ordinate "The Craft Group" which is a place for women to gather and do craft! We share a whole range of things, from craft to the small things that matter to us right up to understanding the whole meaning of life! I learn so much from everyone, I thought a blog would be the perfect way to record the memories! The "Plus..." is all about extra bits 'n pieces that I have found and would love to show you. Welcome to our Craft Group. Please feel free to say hi, leave a comment or become a follower! Enjoy!

Thursday, 30 June 2011

bag number 2

This is a continuation of yesterday's post. The bags I bought from clever Anne.
I LOVE this one. It is a Japanese lunch bag.

It is padded and a great size for me to pack
        my lunch in when I go to work.

It came with a handy little lunch box which has a lid containing freezing gel. I keep the lid in the freezer, ready for my packed lunch. There's plenty of room for a container of yoghurt and some fruit.
I might see if I can twist Anne's arm... gently... to see if she will come and do a class teaching us how to make these bags.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Bags for a good cause. Bag 1.

Don't you love using your stash of fabric for something worthwhile? 
For many years "the Craft Group" has hosted a Cancer Council Morning tea (which I did blog about before). I told you about the bags that Anne made from her stash of fabrics at home and so now I thought I'd show you 2 of her creations. 
We held an auction to sell Anne's homemade bags and I bought these 2.

A Bullseye Bag.
A while ago, a group of friends and I made  "bullseye" quilts and then at "The Craft Group", we did them as well. Bullseye quilts are a great group project. Basically, you sew a heap of squares with 3 different sized circles sewn on top (rough edges showing). You then cut them in quarters, swap them around and sew them back together again. Easy! (I'll show you my quilt some day if I can peel it off my TV watching teenagers).
Well, Anne was in one of these groups who shared bullseye squares and she had some left overs. So she made a bullseye bag!

Here is a closeup of one of the squares. If you want to see how to make a bullseye quilt, you can see this bullseye tutorial. Just to keep you on your toes, the tutorial is in french (with funny google english translations).
I use my bag to carry around my craft projects. Thanks Anne!
I think I'll show you the second bag tomorrow. I love it.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

John & Wil's 57th Anniversary

Unfortunately I can't blog about about everyone at "The Craft Group's" special celebrations. There are many lovely milestones happening all the time, but I can mention this one because it is my Mum and Dad :)
John and Wil recently celebrated their 57th Wedding Anniversary. 
Congratulations Mum and Dad!

Mum is always there at "The Craft Group", helping out wherever she can and making people feel welcome. Dad is like the secret elf that comes early every thursday morning and sets out all the chairs and tables for 50 of us to do craft at!
Aren't parents the best?
Thanks Mum and Dad!

Here is the card I made for them (with embroidery thread and a nice sticker). I have made a few of this design because I say 'when you are on to a good thing, stick to it!' Although I must admit I am not a card making guru like Mum is!

Monday, 27 June 2011

Valda's latest project

Valda. You do usually make LOVELY things.
But this one maybe isn't one of your best projects.
But even when something doesn't work out quite right, there is always a handy hint that we can learn from those who have gone before us.
Click on "Read more" to see Valda's latest.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Sunday Song - Yahweh

Busy? Take a moment to soak up this song and praise your maker :)

'Yahweh' is the first name the Hebrew people in the Bible ever called God.
The song is by Tal and Acacia and this weeks song was chosen for you by my eldest son, Jacob. He heard Corey chose my song a few weeks ago, so to be fair, here is Jacob's choice of artist. You can tell which son is a drummer and which one is a bass guitarist.

Have a restful Sunday.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

My Congratulations plate

Here is a blast from the past. Years ago Alison taught ceramic painting at "The Craft Group".

I made this plate which is fondly referred to as "The Congratulations Plate" in my household. Anyone who has a birthday or gets their licence or gets their braces off or finishes school... or anything worth celebrating, gets to eat dinner from this plate.

I like little family traditions. 
What is your favourite family tradition?

Friday, 24 June 2011

Friday Wrap up - this Week's Highlights

What's been happening here on the blog this past week?

I showed off the sorts of cards the ladies are making, like this one by Cheryl.

Have you seen the super inspiring interview with the blind lady who loves to quilt?

I showed off Anna's lovely business called "Knit Knit".

When is a card more than a card? This card by Elly comes with it's own stand.

Bronwyn and Rita did some bartering. Crafters can do good cash-free deals. Cards for cushion covers.

Here's a cute white cardigan for a precious little foster baby.

Here's the right clock for me at the moment. Makes you think it is 3 minutes later than it really is. (Would it really work on me?) Lately it is rush, rush, rush. Bring on the school holidays!
Have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Cardigan for a very special little baby.

My mum, Wil, made this cute, soft cardigan for a dear baby who has had a very hard start to her little life. 
Her poor mummy, who we do not know, is addicted to many drugs and so when this sweet little girl was born, her tiny body was addicted too. But God is looking after her. He provided great medical people to monitor her and gradually reduce her drug dependancy. She is 3 1/2  months old now and yesterday was her first fully drug free day. God also provided my sister, Sharon to be a foster Mum for this precious baby. Sharon, Rodney and their 4 kids have fallen in love! (Again). 
We are praying for you little one!

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Barter system... Bron and Rita

I love lots of things about "The Craft Group". One really special things is the way people do things for each other. Rita makes lovely cards. Cards involving a lot of work and skill. Well, she made some lovely cards for Bronwyn a while ago. Then, one day they were both shopping at our "Swap Shop" where everything is free (but if you take something, you try to put something back on another day). Rita loved this fabric which was looking for a new home, but didn't know how to turn it into cushions to match her new lounge. Bronwyn appreciated the cards Rita gave her, so said she'd help her out with the cushion.  (She did more than help, she completely made them.) So Bronwyn has nice cards (by Rita), Rita has nice cushion (by Bronwyn). 
Everybody happy. 

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Elly's special card

Some occasions call for a really special card. Elly and Rita's Tai Chi teacher is having her 50th wedding anniversary, so the whole group is giving a card together. Elly made this one for them all to give.

They will all sign the back of the card which can be read by taking the card out of the stand. Now that is a keeper!

I found the book on line here if you want to make cards like this. The book is "Bloemenkaarten" (from Cantecleer hobbytopper) by Marjan van der Wiel and the embossing template is designed by Petra van Dam.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Want to start knitting?

On saturday night I caught up with some lovely people I haven't seen for quite a while. Anna was one of them and I thought I'd tell you about her business she has started up. Combining her background in fashion design and a love of knitting, Anna started up
She sells kits for the modern knitter, including all that you need to create your project. They range from kits for real beginners to more advanced knitters. These are some of my favourites:

Check out her website if you'd like an easy, delivered to your door project for the winter. Just so I don't come across as a single minded craft nut, we also caught up with Anna's husband, Matt who is studying full time at theological college. Hi Matt!

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Sunday Inspiration - Diane Rose

How good does the light have to be for you to sew? How good are your glasses? How good are your eyes? Watch this lady and you will be inspired!

Have a special Sunday.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

A Card by Cheryl

The ladies at the card making table just keep producing really special cards.

Cheryl made this bowl full of hydrangeas. My photo doesn't do it justice. The flowers are 3D paper tole. She cut out each flower from wrapping paper and then layered individual flowers. She embossed the white card using a light box, embossing template and rubbing tool. She cut out sections to accentuate the bowl using a really sharp craft knife on a cutting board. Then she punched little holes from the pattern using the light box again and then did some embroidery using silver and variegated threads. A few silver stick ons on the corners and there you have it. So you can see how much love goes into making one of these types of cards. 

Friday, 17 June 2011

Friday Wrap up - this Week's Highlights

Here's what's been happening this week on "The Craft Group Plus" blog.

I added a step by step tutorial for making super easy and super cheap curtains.

Nadia gave me the recipe for her amazing cake she brought a few weeks ago.

I had a rather retro day on thursday at The Craft Group and read Psalm 16 because I love it.

Barbara inspired us with her Entelac style jumper.

I have learned to link a project onto other websites and so now have people visiting our Craft Group from all over the globe!

I showed off Karin's quilt for her son Philip and daughter-in-law, Sarah.

Lorraine is making a dolls cardigan from a vintage pattern. Very sweet.

My 16 year old son chose the "Sunday Song" (Frontline by Pillar) and is wondering why no one has commented! Go on, make a comment!

I went to the Darling Harbour Jazz festival where my daughter was in the World's biggest Saxophone Ensemble.

I found here this great idea if you want to make your salad more interesting...

Self portraits? 
Have a great weekend!

My El cheapo Curtains Tutorial

I do love pretty, plain curtains.
I really don't love paying big money for curtains.
I really, really don't like sewing great big wads of fabric to try and make straight curtains.
I don't mind cheating when it comes to curtains.

 I bought some really cheap flat white double bed sheets from Kmart for about $12 each. I washed them and ironed them. Then I figured out how long they needed to be and folded the hem over again on the top and bottom. That's just 2 straight straight lines on the machine. I can't go too wrong with that.

Then a bit of maths. Count the curtain rings. Work out spacing for little ribbon tabs and sew 10cm pieces of $2 a roll ribbon from the cheap shop. (cut at an angle). To complicate things slightly... the curtain you see below against the blue wall has a little 1cm overlap at each ribbon point. That is because the sheet was too wide when the curtain was shut. It looks nice with a bit of gathering.

Stitch each ribbon piece on with the machine.

Tie each ribbon to the bottom of the curtain rings. I do a bow because it is easy then to take them off and wash them.

Ta da! Lovely light curtains where I just need them for night time privacy and to stop the sun blazing in during summer afternoons.

The DIY Show Off

Thursday, 16 June 2011

My Retro Thursday

Today I went to "The Craft Group",  where we can all be ourselves. We are not pretentious! I had a bit of a retro day.
I wore these sweet earrings I bought from my Uncle's jewellery store in Muswellbrook (country NSW) when I was 16. From my very own money I might add!

I wore this fair isle jumper made by my Mum (Wil) for me about 15 years ago. It is a beautiful 100% wool and is so warm on wintery days like today.

 For the "Thought for the Day" I read from my old "Good News Bible" which I received from my dear school friends, Margaret and Hazel when I turned 17. I had such lovely school friends!

It's pretty tattered and worn and I have other Bibles I use. But this is my favourite for when I want to read something in an easy translation.

I read Psalm 16 because I loved it back then and I still love it now.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Barbara is knitting

Entrelac Knitting. That is the name of this pattern that Barbara used to make this beautiful, super warm jumper. It is also called "Basket Weave" stitch but to sound like a professional knitter, I'll call it "Entrelac" :)  It took Barbara 2 years to make. She had trouble at first until she found someone from the Sutherland Shire Spinners and Weavers Guild to help her. Even though you need a pattern, it really is the sort of thing to be shown to really understand how it works. Then it is not that hard!  Barbara made all her efforts all the more worthwhile by using a good quality yarn - Japanese "novo" wool.

If this is something you'd like to try, or would just like to know how it works, click on this You Tube video. The lady explains it clearly but has a very weird way of holding the yarn when she knits! 

If you are serious about giving it a go, look at this video tutorial for beginners, part one. It goes hand in hand wth the information on this website called "Planet Purl". Here you can become a group member for free and access the information you will need.

Fpr a visual burst of more Entrelac, look at these google images of different ways people have used the pattern. Scarves, bags, hats, rugs.... thanks for the inspiration Barbara!

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Linky party

Tip Junkie handmade projects
The DIY Show Off
I have placed the candlesticks I made on a "Linky Party" where bloggers can share their projects. There are HUNDREDS of ideas and things people have made. If you click on the pictures (called "Buttons") above, you can see all the other things people have shared or 'linked up'. Only do this if you are sitting down with a good half hour at least to spare!

On The Tip Junkie blog, my candlesticks come in at 248!
On the DIY blog, my candlesticks started at 274. If people click on "Like", it moves up some places.
I know I'm pretty far down the lists, but I just wanted to try this out and see how it works.
There's always something new to learn in the blogging world!
Now back to reality. I'm going to cook dinner.

Karin's quilts for her sons. Quilt 1.

When your children grow up and get married, it is special to make them each a quilt. But Karin has to do some 'speed ironing' (great ironing action photo Karin!) and sew faster because...

Karin has 5 sons!

Having daughter-in-laws to also appreciate her work will be nice! This is the gorgeous quilt top for the son who is already married. Another son is now engaged.
What should we say... "Hurry up and sew Karin!" or "Slow down boys!"?

Monday, 13 June 2011

Vintage doll knitting pattern - Lorraine

It's the long weekend monday today. It is cold, it is drizzly and I am staying inside with the fire on.
Here's a great project which Lorraine is working on. Wouldn't this be a great thing to do sitting by the fire? 

Lorraine is making this for her little granddaughter, Lila who is 2 (going on 4). She has a baby doll she loves to look after.

Now she can dress her doll for the cold weather.
Don't you just love this pattern. It says 25 cents :)

Have a nice long weekend!

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Sunday Song - Frontline by Pillar

Today's Sunday song was chosen by my 16 year old son, Corey.
He said he'd find me a good song and I asked the questions one would expect a mum to ask...
Can you understand the words? Is it screaming head banging noise? Is it saying anything worthwhile?
The grin on his face made me suspicious. I'm pleased to say that it is a worthwhile song and he was surprised that I liked it. Listen if you are game (or let your teenager listen for you!).

The words talk about life being on the 'frontline'. Young Christians walking together in life, encouraging each other, not regretting things done in the past but looking forward, knowing that when they go through the 'valley of the shadow of death', they will not be alone but will have God by their side.Then their God will hand them a crown and say "well done". 

That is from the Bible. It's good to see people of all ages can understand God's gift of Eternal life!
Corey wants to know what you think!

Saturday, 11 June 2011

What I did today - Jazz Festival.

On Thursday you can ask me for my autograph.
Fame has touched our family.
I am the mother of a daughter who was part of a group who broke the Guiness World Record for the biggest Saxophone Ensemble. Ever.
Yes folks, she was one  out of 1000 people who played at the Darling Harbour Jazz and Blues festival.

If you look at this photo you can see her. You have to click on the "Saxophony" banner in the photo to make it bigger and then look under the "N" on the banner to see her... Just.
OK, I can hear what you're saying about my claim to fame but I think it is as close as I'm going to (or want to) get.
I had a lovely day with my Dad, my daughter and some very groovy Jazz bands.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Friday Wrap up - this Week's Highlights

In case you haven't had a chance to come here for a look, here is a summary of what I've added to the blog this week.

I added a search feature. You can type any word (or your name, group members!) into the search box on the right and it will show which posts mention that word or name.

Marion made this soft, quick quilt for her grandchild.

Look at Shirley's team of  Trauma Teddies which she makes for The Red Cross!

Did you see this amazing little 7 year old sing "Jesus Loves Me"?

A new patchwork technique tried out by Elaine and Lorraine. Seminole quilting.

Bev made a great quilt for her grandson.

I made 5 free timber candle sticks.

We pondered the question of are we good enough for God?

I added a photo of the the finished bracelet made by Jodi.

And to finish off the week... if you feel like crocheting something for your child...

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Coffee Time!

10:30am is Coffee Time! 
Here is Jenni (at the back), our morning tea co-ordinator. With her is her sister Leanne. They deny ringing each other in the mornings to see what they are going to wear but I tell you... the number of times they come wearing the same colour or style is a bit eerie! (Exibit A, photo above. Not exactly the same but well coordinated). 

While we have our coffee, we have a few announcements, see some "Show 'n Tell", announce this week's "Happy birthdays". (Thanks for the love ladies. I had a lovely day!) and then have a little "Thought for the day".

Today I mused on the idea of how 'good' we are. Good enough to make God happy? Good enough to 'make it' into Heaven? Hmmm. I'm afraid not. Not even close. So how unreal is it that God offers us a free gift of not only complete forgiveness but also of the adoption papers to become His child! Wow.   Here is a good little poem which I thought was appropriate :)

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Quick Quilting by Marion

Marion wanted to make a quilt for her grandchild. She is usually busy scrapbooking so went for a quicker method of making a quilt.
She started with a flannelette panel which has printed patches on it. She sandwiched the quilt with wadding and more soft flannelette on the back and started quilting away. But... being realistic, Marion wanted to give the quilt as a gift soon, not when the grandchild turns 18! So, (close your eyes if you are a purist quilter), she is using a larger needle and big stitches (about 5mm). I've seen some beautiful large stitch quilting at some of the big craft shows and it is a great alternative way of finishing a quilt. It's looking great and will be a lovely rug for the little one to snuggle up in.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Shirley's football team

Here is Shirley's football team.
They couldn't decide on the colour of the team but the vivid colours might put the other team off!

Here are some of the team in the dressing room getting ready.

Here is the coach and manager, Shirley.

Her husband Don said this is the final photo before they all ended up in hospital.
No, seriously, they did all go to hospital!
Shirley makes Trauma Teddies for The Red Cross who passes them on to children in hospital or to children who have gone through some trauma. She has made bear after bear which have all gone on to bring comfort to children who I'm sure have benefitted greatly from having somethingone to hug and love. She makes them according to The Red Cross's strict specifications which includes a certain type of face so the kids don't get scared by skewiff expressions! :) Shirley's bears are very friendly looking. (I think Don gets a bit attached to them!)

Click here to contact the NSW Red Cross. Scroll down to find the contact for Trauma Teddies.
Here is a pattern for making the bears.  Check with your local Red Cross for their specs.
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