Friday, 16 November 2012

Getting Ready to Sew!

I am so excited!  So are 8 other ladies, I'm told.

Today I will start a two-day Advent Bell Pull class at my local Bernina dealer. 
I've got all my goodies together.  CD's with designs, instruction print-outs, my mega hoop to loan to one of the ladies who doesn't have one, my camera (whenever am I without it?!) and all the packs I've made for each lady.

They will bring their own embroidery machines to Bernina Cedar Square today and we will start the first phase of the Advent Bell Pull.  Then they will have some homework to do over the week and we will finish up their projects next Saturday - when I will post another load of photo's... of course!

I've also given each lady a little Christmas Gift of a voucher which she can redeem at Sew 'n Sew.  Perhaps she'll make some of the great projects we have at Sew 'n Sew to add to her Christmas stocking stuffer lists?

So keep a look out - this post will be updated later.  Have a Great Saturday everyone!

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Christmas Countdown

 Above : my version of an advent calendar.  25 little free-standing lace baubles numbered 1 to 25 are hung on the wreath each day counting down to Christmas.  Just add a magnet or two at the back and slap it on the refrigerator.  Then no-one will forget how many days to Christmas!

I love Christmas time!  Putting up the tree, making mince pies, sending out cards and wrapping gifts has always been a time of great joy for me.

As a kid my Mom used to buy a Cadbury's Advent Calendar for me.  I would open each little window over the 24 days of Christmas, my mouth drooling at the thought of the small chocolate hidden behind the paper panes.  As each day drew closer to the big day, gifts would 'grow' under the tree.  My mother's explanation was that some of Santa's elves were delivering each night because the big man himself just couldn't manage to do ALL the gift deliveries in one night!

As a grown-up (some people would debate that) I still enjoy the silly season.  Nowadays with no kids in the house, we don't put up a tree like we used to.  That's also because the kitties destroy it and on Christmas morning the poor thing looks like its been dragged through a fence backwards!  Nevertheless, we do have mince pies - thanks to Woolies - and cards are now sent on FB and email via cyberspace.  We BBM our kids as they enjoy Christmas with their significant others.  We don't do gifts either anymore.  Well, not wrapped ones.  Instead, we buy ourselves Harley gear and we wear it all for those 24 days leading up to the day while we enjoy the hot South African summer as we ride our bikes.

Then, on Christmas Day, we whip out the Weber, pop some chickens in it, make a salad or two and drift around the swimming pool with an ice-cold drink in the one hand (of course with as much alcohol in it as we can stand) while the other hand serves as a paddle for the lilo we're bobbing around on!

Then, as the day winds to a close, we lather sun-screen on our too-late it's-already-burnt shoulders and backs and we gently sink into a lukewarm bath to 'sting' away the burn!

Yip!  I love Christmas time!

Want to make this great project?  Now downloadable at 

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Ding Dong Advent Bell Pull

Ta da!  Here it is!

My Advent Bell Pull could also be called an Advent Wall Hanging considering we don't have bells and butlers any more.  Well some of us don't!

Advent Bell PullDesigning and stitching this out was sooooo enjoyable.  And I do hope my Monthly Project Club members enjoy making it as much as I did.

I love Christmas time!  Even though it's hot as hell here in SA, and we have braai's (BBQs) and beers and swimming around in the pool, I still do the traditional mince fruit pies at breakfast time, a gammon for lunch and fruit cake (which my DH makes) for tea in the afternoon.

The entire project (except for the final binding) was made and put together IN THE HOOP.  The blocks are appliqued, embroidered and quilted without removing the project from the hoop.  And even the backing is all done - yup, you guessed it - ITH!

I think it would make a wonderful addition to any church over the Festive Season and will donate this one to my friend Reverend Jen for her church.  She is such an inspirational woman and leads a congregation out in one of the poorer areas of our country.

A couple of years ago, I went out with Reverend Jen to an informal settlement where a little school of 60 children is housed in an old bus.  I was taken aback at the abject poverty in the area.  There were no flushing toilets, they had to get water from a tank 100 yards up the road and the children were aged between 2 and 6 years old.  Most of them were orphaned and lived with relatives or siblings.  The school is run on donations alone so that these childrens' keepers (who are mostly sickly) do not have to pay.  Each child is fed at the school each day.  Food is donated by large supermarkets to Rev Jen and she delivers it out there once a week.

The Foundation I work with paid for the school to get running water and toilets and I returned one day with a toiletry kit of toothbrush, toothpaste, facecloth and soap for each of the kids.  Most didn't know what to do with these items.

We don't realise how fortunate we are.  And at Christmas time this year, I will be doing a Random Act of Christmas Kindness (RACK) every single day for the 25 days leading up to Christmas.  In some small way I hope to make those who are desolate a little happier at the time of year when we are all enjoying good cheer.

So, why not join in? Do a little something nice for someone who least expects it once a day starting December 1, 2012.  I will post what I did each day.

If you'd like to make one of these banners yourself for this Christmas, come over to Sew 'n Sew and join the monthly project club.  It's great value for money and you will get a project each month - one month before it's released to the general embroidery community (of course at a higher price nudge nudge)!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend doing lots of crafty stuff!
Love from Sunny South Africa!