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!

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Friday, 28 September 2012

more rugs for charity

I've shown off some of the knitted rugs for charity before, but I want to celebrate more achievements by showing you more!
Lots of girls got in and made 10" squares (esp Wendy and Elaine!) then Judy offered to join them together. This is always the job that is hard to get someone to do. Judy has a great way of joining them by crocheting the squares together. Good move Judy. Let me show them off...

Thanks everyone. I had them picked up by a "Wrap with Love" local volunteer. 
I'm sure they will go off an warm someones body and heart.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Pop up Cupcake Card.

Here's some card making inspiration from Elly. 
(with some new links added below to check out if you want to make it for yourself!)
This pretty card is flat to post and then pops up easily to display.  

Here it is flattened down.
Just pop up each quarter...
... and up it stands.

Nice and yummy card. The best low-cal cupcake you can give a friend! Or, if you or your friend are on a diet and are not even allowed to LOOK at a cake, you could put a nice bunch of paper tole flowers on each quarter!

Keen to make this card? Check out the following links for ideas and instructions. (Use google translate to change the lingo on the dutch site!)


Saturday, 22 September 2012

Heidi's Dress

I will use Heidi's dress as a segue back to the theme of this blog... to show off things people have made!
In yesterday's blog post you would have seen Heidi wearing this dress. She made it herself as part of her  Textiles class at school. 
I thought I would show it off for her. 

Tied at the back.
Tied at the front
Part of her portfolio.
The PJ's she made earlier this year.

Nice work Heidi! 
If a 14 year old can make a dress like this, the rest of us have no excuse!

Friday, 21 September 2012

Home again

We are back.
The funeral was very special.

I love this photo of Heidi and a little second-cousin jumping up on her.
It was taken after the graveside service. Heidi and all the grandchildren were coming up to see the coffin and just chatted together in a nice reverent sort of way and then there were Oma's great grandchildren. They were running and jumping and lapping up the family atmosphere. 
In a lovely, childlike, innocent sort of way. 
It was a lovely balance.

As I said before, it was a lovely time of remembering and celebrating a life.
We are now home from Queensland and Oma is Home with her Heavenly Father. 

Thanks to everyone for your well wishes and prayers for us at this time.


Sunday, 16 September 2012

Finding LIFE

At the Craft Group we encourage each other n so many ways. There are a group of ladies who share "4 minute Thoughts for the Day".
Marianne gave a great thing to think about... here's what she said.

"There are strange paradoxes in life. Often you are searching for something really hard and you don’t get what you are searching for, but when you give up, you often find it.  I’m sure you know exactly what I mean.
You know that when you go shopping for a dress for a special occasion, you usually struggle to find it, but when you’re out and about, just window shopping, you might see something straight away that you’d like to buy – but have no real reason to buy it!

At the moment, I am searching for a book – I know what it looks like – I know where it should be – and I just can’t lay my hands on it.  But in a few months time, when I’m emptying some pile somewhere or other, I’ll lay on my hands on it!  It’s so frustrating.

I think that’s why parents are worried when their children say they’ll go off to Europe for a year, or work in London for a while.  I’ve heard parents say, “Well, don’t you go and get a boyfriend while you’re away!”  And the young girl will say, “I’m not there for that – that’s the last thing I want at this stage.”  And what do you know? .....

It’s the same in what we strive for.  Much of our lives are spent in a pursuit of happiness.
Here is an interesting little poem...

"I was a child, and it was adulthood I wanted:
The freedom and the respect.
I was 20, but it was 30 I wanted;
to be mature and sophisticated.
I was middle aged, but it was 20 I wanted;
the youth and the free spirit.
I was retired, but it was middle aged that I wanted;
the presence of mind without limitations.
My life was over,
and I never got what I wanted".

We seem to be looking for something to fill the gap. Something to make everything worthwhile.  But the  Bible  presents us with an amazing paradox.
If we are focussing on our own agenda to fill our life with significance, we will end up with an empty spot;  We won’t feel filled, we’ll feel discontent; We’ll feel like we missed out;
Why is that?

Here we read, “If anyone would follow me, He must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me. Whoever loses his life, for my sake, will gain it.”
To truly gain life, to gain peace and  significance, worth in our life, we need to take our eyes off ourselves and our agenda.  We need to ‘lose’ our life.  Then, we need to focus on God – and His agenda – how does He want me to live?  What does he want from me?  How can I live my life for Him and not for me?  When we take our eyes OFF pleasing ourselves and put it ON pleasing God – we actually GAIN.  It’s like me looking for my book.  When I stop looking for it, and focus on something else – I end up finding it.  God says the same thing – stop focussing on your own life, on your own agenda, on making yourself happy – and look to me, to my agenda, put me first – and what do you know?  We find the life we were searching for all along.

A great paradox.  Even as a Christian, I find it a challenge to do this.  Our lives are so self absorbed and so inward looking – but God tells us – if you want to really find life – don’t search by looking at yourself – look at Me!"

Marianne vdk

Friday, 14 September 2012

...into Eternity.

In June, I wrote a tribute to my husband's mother as it was her 90th birthday.
Today I want to repeat the post.
In the early hours of this morning, her Lord called her home and she passed away from this life.

I cannot separate 'death' froom 'God'. Our relationship, or lack of relationship with Him all comes to a climax, a final point, setting our eternal destiny.

Mark's Mum, Mary knew God. 
She walked with Him and talked with Him and trusted Him throughout her life.
She knew the sacrifices made by Jesus were for her and she claimed them.
She is with Him now!

Jesus said himself in John 5:24 “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me(God) has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life."

I am not saying she is in Heaven because of anything good she ever did.
She is there because of what Jesus did for her.
An important detail Jesus reminds us about over and over in His Word.
What a comfort to know Him as your King and loving Father and to know the amazing Gift He has for those who repent and believe.

(want to know more about Eternity? Click Here)

Here again, is a tribute to Oma, written on her 90th birthday.

Mary is 90. She has dementia. She is in a special care home.
We saw her this past Easter. We are in Sydney and she lives in Toowoomba (12 hours drive apart), so this morning Mark flew up to see his mum. She won't know who he is but together with his siblings and her local church they will celebrate her life thus far.

Mary came with her husband Harry and 3 young children (and pregnant with the 4th) on a ship to Australia from The Netherlands in the 50's. The war was finished and they didn't see many opportunities for work. They took up the offer and came to Australia. Can I just repeat... pregnant and with 3 young children... 6 weeks on a ship. She said goodbye to her family and a life she knew, to make a new beginning on the underneath side of the world. Well, in hindsight that was a great move. She always loved the warm weather, the local church, friends and bringing up her children in Australia.

Here she is about 5 years ago with Annalee and this year with Mark.

Her greatest delight are babies and young children. She had 6 children and 23 grand children and I just did a rough count and I think she has 31 great grandchildren. Here she is with great grandchild, Mikkah.

love this photo.

It would be impossible to comprehend how many people have been cared for, loved, provided for, hugged... and I'm sure lovingly smacked with these hands. It would be even more impossible to know how many blessings God has sent to this earth in response to the prayers sent up when these hands have been folded in prayer.

I admit there are tears as I write this post. I know she is in God's hands and I am convinced that God has His plans and purposes in the difficult things in life, like dementia.
Human beings so easily return to the default state of selfishness. It comes naturally and easily to us all. By allowing people to live on this earth in a state of total dependance teaches us to care for others. To respect life. To not just think of ourselves but of the needs of others. To love.

Thank you Lord for lessons to be learnt and help us to be good students!

We are also thankful for the staff at the home she lives in, for the love and prayers of all her friends and for the family who live close by and care for her and do so much for her.

Here is a precious photo taken yesterday, on her 90th birthday.

1922 - 2012

Much Loved by her 6 children, their spouses, her 23 grand children, their spouses and over 31 great grand children! 

PS. I could write all these same things about Mark's Dad, Harry who passed away 15 years ago. He was also a godly and fun man! I might just tell you about him one day!

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Hand sewn quilt for charity

Carolyn is a machine. A hand sewing, quilt producing machine.
She is also very generous with her skills.
This fully hand sewn quilt was made by her to donate to the St George Lantern Club to raffle off to raise money for the North Rocks Deaf and Blind School.

You can see Carolyn peeping around the side there.
I am so impressed with the fact that she never uses a sewing machine! My very first sampler quilt was started about 14 years ago... all by hand.... and it is still sitting in my cupboard in pieces. I should get it out again. Every stitch made is a stitch closer to the finish. It's not making any progress just sitting in my craft cupboard! I was making it for my son Jacob and every time I sew something else he says... "How's my quilt going Mum?" 
Oh dear, I just remembered I have told this story before and you are probably thinking... "Stop talking about it and just get the thing finished!!!"

Thanks for the inspiration Carolyn!

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Knitting for Charity.

I am amazed by the knitting skills of some of the humble ladies at The Craft Group!
Bev G is such a gifted knitter. She handed me a bag full of items she hand knitted and wanted to donate to charity.

We used to give items to Guardian Pharmacies but they don't collect for charity any more. We donated these to a collection organised by Spotlight.

Does anyone know of a reputable collector in Sydney who distributes knitted items to people in need? I like to be prepared for any future knitted beauties.

Good on you Bev. You are very talented and very generous!

Sunday, 9 September 2012


After my knee operation, (after my silly sporting attempt,) I missed 2 weeks of The Craft Group. It was no nice to be back again last Thursday! I couldn't walk around much but it was really nice to see everyone again.
It is so lovely to be part of a community at times when you are not well. My church family delivered some meals and I received lovely cards.
So, thanks for the cards, the well wishes, the hugs, the meals, the prayers and look... Joan brought me a bunch of lavender from her garden. I thought that was so sweet.
It's good to be hobbling around again. I am focussing on patience at the moment. Always a good thing to improve on!

This is taken with my new camera. I have enjoyed trying to learn a bit about how it works!

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Crazy Stunt.

Crazy stunt! Volvo organised this stunt. I nearly had a heart attack just watching it!

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Cat in the Hat

I've lost Lorraines' Dr Seuss quilt!
Well, I have not lost the actual quilt but the photos of the quilt! It is really lovely and she made it for one of her lucky grandchildren.
Afterwards she made a bag. All good kids quilts need a matching bag I say!

Just google Cat in the Hat fabric or Dr Seuss and you will find plenty of options for places to buy it from. When I find my photo of the quilt I will show you. 
*sigh* I'm always loosing things lately.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

A Quilt for me!!!

My lovely friend Jenni actually made me a quilt! How special is that and so humbling... to have someone spend so much time making something especially for me! It was for my new decade birthday and was very much appreciated!

The quilt is a summary of my family. click here to see all the panels and meet my embroidered family.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Appliqued girls.

Seeing as it is The Craft Group's 20th Anniversary, here is another blast from the past!
I decorated this jumper with pretty appliqued girls at The Craft Group about 15 years ago. My daughter wore it constantly and then, 8 years later my other daughter wore it just a bit (appliqued jumpers sadly went out of fashion).

It has been washed and washed and I just couldn't throw it in the bin, so we gave it to a friend whose little girl can enjoy it. (That is what I like to think, I was having trouble parting with the 3 little girlies, so 'passing it on' makes it easier to say goodbye!)

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Shameful Dogs' confessions!

Dogs can be just SO naughty!

There is a funny blog started up where people can shame their dogs for the naughty things they have done! They take a photo including a written confession from their pooch.

Here's one, but you can check out the blog here if you like:   http://dog-shaming.com/

...and another....

Oh I could do plenty of these about my dog, Max!
His ritual afternoon barking at passing...anything.... drives me crazy!
But I must say, living in Sydney I do not feel at all guilty about Max living outside.
I really can't imagine living with a naughty smelly dog in the house. 

(He has a snug doghouse with a pretty mattress, so don't feel too sorry for him!)

I protect my house by barking every afternoon.

Hello Max.
Look at me like that and I forgive you.
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