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!

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Quick Recycled magazine Christmas Tree tutorial

This Christmas I have been doing some decorating using recycled books, so to continue the theme, here is a great Christmas tree made from an old magazine. You may have seen it before but it's good to have a step by step 'how to' for yourself or the kids!

I snapped Bronwyn making one so that we could share with you a full visual tutorial.

Find a magazine that has a glued spine (not staples).
"Perfect bound" is the proper name for this (because I just asked my magazine publishing husband!)

Rip the covers off and fold the first top right hand corner down like this...

Fold the diagonal edge to meet up with the spine of the magazine.

You have to really score the folded edge well with your fingernail.

Now make a straight fold along the pointy bit by folding a line along the bottom of the magazine.

Open the page and fold the point under.

Like this...

Or, you can fold it under before opening the page.

Whatever you prefer.

Now repeat over and over until all the pages are folded.

You can paper clip the first and last pages together. That makes it easy to fold up and store for next year. But you can glue it too if you like.
Now, get yourself a bamboo skewer.

Glue it down the centre spine, leaving just a bit sticking out the top. Maybe do this bit before glueing the whole thing together.

Get some bling...

Attach to the skewer and ta da!

SO nice!

Quick, make one before wednesday!

Thanks Bronwyn!

Friday, 20 December 2013

Christmas 2014 at "The Craft Group"

One of my favourite days of the year is The Craft Group's Christmas Brunch.
This was my "Christmas Tree" table centre piece this year.
A gorgeous hydrangea in full bloom.
It was a gift from a lovely relative from New Zealand who came to stay at our house during their Aussie holiday. I decorated everything to match it. Pink and silver.

Everyone brings a little plate of something yummy to share 
and we always end up with a lovely feast!

The morning was full of lovely food, lovely people, we sum up our years ups and downs and collect money for a worthwhile charity. This year from the sale of a lovely bullseye quilt (made by Bev I) and donations, we were able to provide 5 sewing machines to women in the Solomon Islands!
Anne came and gave a really lovely talk about Mary. Mary the mother of Jesus that is. Anne put us in the shoes of Mary and we travelled through her life to the death of her Son on the cross. It was profound to think beyond the usual Christmas message of a baby born and be reminded of the amazing significance of God coming to earth to save us and offer us forgiveness  and real Life!

These sweet girls, Caitlyn, Rachael and Melanie came and helped serve up the food and clean up afterwards together with Judy.
Thanks you all so much !
(You can see the quilt in the background on the left which we auctioned off.)

And then there was the gift!
Every year we come up with a gift for everyone. 
This year it was  a "Recipe in a jar", biscuits.
Elzanne worked out a perfect recipe and she and I had a lovely… very late evening filling 70 jars!

I will share the recipe with you in the new year… I'm assuming you don't have time to whip anything up before Christmas! (You can comment if you really want it NOW!)

Anyway... we all had a lovely morning at our brunch and we will miss each other until we meet up again in february!
But keep on having fun with your craft ladies and have a lovely New year and enjoy the summer!
(Keep an eye on the blog! I'm still here!)

Diana xxx

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Christmas wreath - An up-cycled book!

The school library are throwing out some lovely old books. They are out of date.
I intercepted them as they were about to be thrown into the paper recycling bin.
I ignored the rolling eyes and the "what are you going to do with all those old books?" comments and whisked away the books in the book trolley. (there were a lot!)

Oh, firstly at lunch time the kids helped me to rip pages out, fold them and staple them into paper chains to decorate the library for Christmas.

Then I took some home and made this…

I am so happy with how it turned out.

It all started with searching the web for craft ideas for using up old books.
Then just a few hours and materials I had around the house and ta da!

Start with a large circle of cardboard (40 - 50 cm round?) I used a lid from a fruit box.
Put a point in the centre.
with a compass, draw 2 circles, on with a diameter of 10 cm and the other, 20cm.
Mark the circle at each quarter point.
Turn it over and glue a string loop at the back near the top of the circle so you can hang it when it is done.

Now rip out the pages from the book and trim them. (I used about 65)
Roll them into a cone, sticky tape to secure.
(Try not to make the cone's too skinny).
Flatten the end and staple about 3cm from the tip of the cone.

Now go crazy with a glue gun (have plenty of glue sticks ready.)
Clue the tips of each cone around the outside circle first, starting at the quarter points.
Put a tiny dab of glue further up the cone too to stop them bending.

Then do a second row.

The video shows just 2 rows but I cut some pages a bit smaller and made slightly smaller cones and made a third row, which all joined at the centre point of the circle.

Then I bought some cheap gold baubles, some big and some little and glued them randomly in the centre.

Give it a try… it is so cheap, easy and a glamourous decoration for this Christmas.

Diana x

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Special quilt by Dianne

Dianne's daughter, Siobhan, requested a quilt for her 21st.
Well, good things are worth waiting for.
With a lot of encouragement and some creative stitches from friends, the quilt is finished! (maybe 6 or 7 years later than first planned!)

It was a great achievement for Dianne and she even stepped out of her comfort zone to stand up and point out some of the precious stories, bits of lace, tatting, doilies and humour that were all part of the 'Siobhan' story quilt.

Well done Dianne. You can be proud of your quilt and your daughter!

Here it is!


Thanks for sharing it with us!
Oh, and Happy belated 21st Birthday for Siobhan!

(PS: Anyone wanting to get started on their Old Book Wreath, click here.)

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Crazy Bush dance!

One of my many hats is playing the recorder in Bushband. Yes I know.  Random.

Bushdances were all the rage in the 90's. There are still some happening here and there, now and then.
Last night we played for a fundraiser to raise money for a local Scripture Teacher to be paid to work in the local high schools.

It was the craziest bush dance I have played for! There were hundreds of teenagers who had never been to a bush dance before. They thought it sounded a bit lame beforehand but they had SO much fun. They really got into it and even though they really didn't sound like they were taking any notice of the caller (my Annalee), they did the dances as pros and had a ball.

There is one dance where there are chocolates for things like… the couple with one bearded partner (or something like that) and they got a chocolate.

I stole a chocolate myself and look what my Freddo Frog was doing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am a freddo frog.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Give for India

Peter has a beard.

Peter has a very long beard.

Peter loves his beard.

Peter's beard is getting TOOOO long (personal opinion here).

Peter has a heart.

Peter has a big heart for the underprivileged women  and their families in India.

Peter thinks his beard can help raise $16,500 to fund a project.

Peter likes a project run by "Compassion" to educate and equip women in India to be able to run their own businesses or become employable with their new skills.

Peter thinks people love his beard too and would sponsor him by donating money if he shaves off his beard because it is such a huge sacrifice.

Peter is surprised by the people who are so cruelly saying "Yeah, I'll give money if you please get rid of the beard!"

Peter doesn't care about people's opinion of his beard (?) as long as they give.

Peter's deadline is 16th November.

Peter has a revised goal of $10 000 before he shaves it all off.

Peter is only up to $8165

PLEASE consider clicking HERE as a simple way to make a donation and support the worthy cause…


(Oops, sorry, I got a bit carried away there.)

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Sien's slouch Beanie

Sien has never finished a knitting project. Ever. Until NOW!
It doesn't matter that it is finished just in time for summer ;)
There are cool evenings in a Sydney summer, so I'm sure she will get to enjoy it.

With the help and encouragement of the wonderful Wendy-Shirley-Valda-Roma team, Sien can be very proud of her achievement. It's great beanie with the right amount of slouch!

She used a beautiful pure wool yarn.

She made some pom poms for the end. 
But the pom pom dilemma is...

One, two or three pom poms?
She decided on three.
But then she thought it looked a bit like a moose.

I guess this doesn't help does it?
Sorry! I couldn't resist.


Wednesday, 23 October 2013

A Fun quilt by Karin FINISHED!

Karin is the one still trying to finish the baby cross stitch for her son before he moves out of home!
Well, maybe it's because other fun projects come in between!
Karin went on a quilters weekend away.
Everyone who registered for the weekend received a pattern and a bit of background grey fabric.
They were all told to make a square using any batik designed fabric and bring it along.

If you brought one square, you get one ticket in the draw. If you brought 2 finished squares, you get 2 tickets etc.

There were a few different prizes apparently but Karin won the coveted prize of all the little squares. She then had to put them together and quilt them, but that is not so bad when all the squares have been made for you!

Lovely result Karin!

Now, get on with that cross stitch!

Monday, 21 October 2013

Gluten free scrolls

We try to provide some gluten free options for the ladies at The Craft Group. Usually they are banned from others. (Sometimes that is easy because no one really wants them!)
But the other day, Bev G provided some savoury delights that I couldn't keep my hands off, even though I have no problem with gluten.

I will definitely make these the next time I have to provide a plate of little finger food for an event.

Introducing... Bev's Salmon Crepes

Buy a packet of frozen, gluten free crepes from the supermarket. 
(In sydney the GF ones are available in IGA stores)

Mix a tub of philodelphia cream cheese 
with a medium sized tin of nice red salmon
and add some finely sliced shallots.
(optional, a blob of thousand island dressing - watch out if it's gluten free)

Spread of the crepes and roll, 
then cut, 
then stick in a tooth pick.

You won't be able to stop at one!

(Bev also made some using ham, but I didn't take much notice as I was totally in love with the salmon ones!)

Friday, 18 October 2013

New term, new stories.

After a bit of a break, term 4 at The Craft Group has started up again.
It was SO nice to see everyone again, craft in hand, stories to tell.
Love... an embroidered quilt by Wendy. Coming along nicely.

Wendy P was there.
About a month ago her husband passed away.
He had been living in a nursing home for the past 2 years and Wendy said it was his time to go.
But it is super sad for her to have to say goodbye.
He was only in his 70's.
She is continuing to volunteer at the Nursing home because she has spent so much time there in the past and she is such a lovely person with a lot of love and care to share around.

We pray that you will continue to know God as your real, everyday Comforter Wendy!
We are so pleased you had the strength and desire to come along to "craft" yesterday.
Big hugs from us all. xxxxxxxxx

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Life = ups and downs

Yes, I am still alive!
Life has been busy in the last few weeks.

Mark's sister and husband are in Australia from Canada for a 4 week visit. We had some lovely days with them in the Blue Mountains and in beautiful Sydney....and a full family reunion with all the relos soon.

We had 50 teens here for Miss 16's 16th birthday party. Lots of fun.
Then Miss 16 got a part time job, a bank account AND her learners drivers licence. Wow, turning 16 is a big thing!

Mr 19 passed his driving test and is now able to drive on his own. Hmm, we have to share a car again.

Miss 23 came back from her 6 weeks in South Asia (but wants to go back and live there for a few years!) :)  :(   It is her birthday today! We are going out for lunch. She says she wants a steak. No curry.

We went to pick her up from the airport.
In the one hour we were away from our cars, some "person" stole all Mr 21's carpentry tools. $3000 worth. How ironic. We were SO happy that our daughter was safe and had nothing stolen overseas and then this happens here in our own city. Grrrrrrr. Oh, and it was our Anniversary on that day too. 28 years on the 28th. What a day of up and down emotions!

At least we are all well and together. A big lesson in not putting our trust in material things! Many things in life are just not in our control. I'm so thankful God has all things in His Hands. He teaches us in the bad things that He allows and He provides in the end with all that we need. A great lesson for us and the kids!

Now that you are at your computer, you just have to get a coffee and spend half an hour (or so) checking out "Craft Gawker".  Have a general scroll thru and click on anything that interests you. Click on 'categories' on the top and pick your preferred craft.

Enjoy (and don't blame me for time you spend on your computer!)

Craft Gawker

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Katie Davis - A woman of Faith

At The Craft Group we always break for coffee and I do announcements...sales that are on... whose birthday it is. Then we do a little 4 minute "Thought from the Bible".  We follow different topics and lately we have been doing "Women of Faith".  We've interviewed some women, looked at some women in  the Bible and shared stories about people have heard about.

Recently Lydia shared about a young woman who she is reading about, Katie Davis.
Katie is from the States and is living in Uganda. She is now 23 but by the age of 21 had adopted 14 girls. Why would she do that? Listen to this short clip to meet her...

If you want to read more about this young woman and her faith, read this book...

Buy it here.
Or, really see what she is doing and thinking and believing by looking at the blog of the ministry she has started up called "Amazima"  HERE. Or her personal blog HERE.

Plenty to think about. What a woman. What a God!

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Free Craft Patterns Galore!

As soon as I have big things coming up, I drop the blog! Sorry!
This week we have a son turning 19 and a daughter turning 16.
there are presents and parties and cakes and a puppet show to perform at school.
Brain full.
It fills up quicker these days and can't fit anything else in!

But, you might feel like looking up a free craft pattern for...well... just about any craft you like!

Loose yourself in the Fave Crafts website if you have a spare few hours (days...weeks).
or as they say in NL "Genieten!"


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