A fabulous weekend!

Sunday, October 30, 2011
I'm home from the Creative Craft Retreat!  As always, it was a fantastic weekend in a beautiful location, surrounded by the Australian bush and birdsong. There were lots of amazing crafts being worked on or learned.

My crochet class did very well and they managed to get lots of Granny Squares made and a few bags finished (or 95% there!).

Each year, the Craft Retreat has a stall with lots of beautiful hand-made articles made by the participants.  It's a fabulous opportunity to buy some unique gifts. A few weeks ago I was thinking I didn't have much to put on the stall this year ... but then I looked in the project crate and found a couple of bags:

A Christmas Wall-hanging:

A pincushion and scissor keep:

I printed out some of my patterns and with the key rings and pincushions that I quickly got together over the last couple of weeks, I ended up with LOTS of things to sell! All the above were snatched up quickly and I didn't come home with much at all.  I was thinking that I would have enough left over for our Church fete next weekend, but there are very meagre pickings left, so I will have to get my skates on again and whip up a few more things!

Ten percent commission from everything sold on the stall goes each year to a worthy project.  This year, the goal was to raise $1120 sales so that $112 could go towards providing sewing lessons (check out the link) for a woman in a third world country to enable a poor family to have an opportunity for work or even to set up a business. The fantastic news is that the goal was reached!!!

Now, I had better go and put on my skates!!!

Happy stitching!

It's been a year since ....

Saturday, October 22, 2011
Yes, we celebrated our first anniversary in our new home last week!  We love our new area with its beauty and diversity, its peacefulness and its proximity to all we need.  We love being close to lots of our grandchildren.  The cactus garden put on its own celebration for us:


Every spare moment of my week has been spent in making things for craft stall and church fete coming up.

Some needlecases:

A couple of table runners:

and quite a few of these:

I also have set up a page for Val Laird Designs on Facebook. You can find it here. 

I'll be organising a giveaway soon so keep an eye out for some details in a couple of weeks time.

Have a great week,

Free pattern - Consider the Lilies Pattern 10

Saturday, October 15, 2011
It's free pattern time again - second last one in the Consider the Lilies quilt. There's a cute little cottage with lilies in the garden. 

The concept of "at home" is how we can feel as we rest in God's love and it reminds me of His wonderful provision of all our needs.

 You can download the pattern from here.

Next month you'll see the finished product! It makes my heart smile every time I look at the quilt, so I hope you're enjoying making it too.

We've had a busy week with some lovely friends staying for a couple of days; then it was time to catch up on all the mail and e-mails that were happening while we were on holidays.  I've nearly cleared the deck and have even completed a few more items for a stall at the Creative Craft Retreat where I'll be teaching in a couple of weeks. 

Some little bee-hive pincushions

and some mug rugs.

Then I've added another pattern to the website, "Making Daisy Chains".

It's a fat-quarter friendly bag, using three fat quarters plus a bit of fabric for the appliques.  The wording says "Happiness is ... making daisy chains" - makes me think of my childhood trying to make chains out of clover!

You can find the details here.

Yesterday we went to see the opera, La Boheme.  It wasn't live, but the next best thing, recorded live at the Sydney Opera House and shown on the big screen with subtitles.  It was fantastic and it was great to see some younger singers take the lead roles.  The two main singers were absolutely amazing with the most beautiful voices.  The songs are still going around in my head!

Happy stitching!

Our proud moment!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

I'm back home after a lovely week's holiday with one of our sons and his family.  As promised, I wanted to share about our happy day when my husband received his Order of Australia Medal.

The ceremony was held at Government House, Queensland. It's a place I know well as my grandmother lived opposite the extensive grounds and when I visited as a child, we used to see the then Governor walking his dog!  Never did I dream that one day I would be invited inside!

The ceremony itself was a lovely intimate occasion. There were 24 medals presented, including Public Service, Police and Bravery awards. There were just seven receiving the Order of Australia Medal.  

The Governor was very personable and pleasant and took time to speak at length with each recipient.

She then patiently posed so that the recipient's guests could get photos.

During the morning tea out on the lawn, the Governor went around to each recipient to meet their families.


My darling husband of 45 years.

The Governor said in her speech that less than 50% of people nominated for the OAM actually end up receiving it, as the requirements are so stringent and they are investigated very thoroughly. It has to be exceptional service to be awarded. Can you imagine how proud we are?

The medals in their gold-embossed box and velvet folder.

It was extra special to have our three children living in Australia being able to attend the occasion.

Thanks for indulging me in my proud moment!


Fete time!

Saturday, October 1, 2011
It's fete time in lots of places in Australia and I've been making bits and pieces for a couple of stalls coming up next month.  My cupcake pincushions always seem popular, so I'm on a production line with them - cut out ten and have made four so far. This photo makes me think of the nursery rhyme line "pretty maids all in a row"!

Handmade magazine Vol 29/6 was a special Fete and Fairs issue and my Quick and Easy Fete Bags were in there - the purple and white bag on the bottom right:


I made two variations of the pattern:

You can make one in about an hour so they are superfast and great for whipping up a few for a fete or charity.

Handmade 29/7 also had a profile on me.  Don't know that you would learn anything that you don't know about me from reading it, but it's there for the looking!

Here's a couple of sneek peaks at some more of the commissions that I finished this month: 
not my usual colours but this one was all about Autumn.

Lots of variegated threads used in this one:

We're having a week's holiday with our interstate family at the moment.  They head north and we drive south and we meet about halfway at a lovely location on the New South Wales coast.  Four grandchildren to enjoy again! 

My DH's ceremony at Government House was a fantastic time.  I hope to share some photos next week when I am back home.

Have a great week.