Hi, I'm just giving you a quick update on what's happening this week.
Stop by on Monday, answer a random question, and have the chance to win one of my new products .... sent FREE anywhere in the world!!!!!
Oh, and did I mention, if you do the same on Tuesday and Wednesday, the same offer applies? Come and read all about it tomorrow morning.
And if you are a fan of facebook, then come visit my Wildcraft Farm page, hit the LIKE button .... and later in the week I'm doing a GLOBAL giveaway to ALL my "likers".
So enjoy the rest of your weekend, and I'll see you back throughout the week for some fun.
(PS - What was the last thing you won?)
(PPS - The giveaways are spreading around facebook, via the Sew Mama Sews page, so check more out here)
Wow, so much going on at the farm right now ... need to sit down, take a breath and enjoy a cuppa and a chat.
I'm just about to do a final sketch of a giveaway I have planned for next week, for all my facebook and blog friends, but thought I would stop by here for a chance to update you on life at Wildcraft Farm.
My darling Jessica has jumped into the High School life very well, so glad her school had homework in the primary years, she already has a great "work ethic" with getting the work done early (so not like her Mother, who used to leave her projects until the night before!!!). Poor thing had a massive project to do over the school holidays, spent most of the 3 weeks on the computer doing research.
Farmer Rowe has been madly supplying everyone with foliage from our farm for Mother's Day, so I hope everyone who got a bunch of flowers can appreciate the "greenery" around the main flowers .... florists love it because a dozen roses look very small on their own, but add some foliage and they can add $50 to the price (pity the grower doesn't get that money!).
And I have been quite busy getting the new range of designs printed and ready for distribution. If you follow me on facebook just about all the photos are there to view in their separate photo albums. I had to abandon loading to the blog as Typepad wouldn't let me upload the photos, I'll have another try today.
Here are 2 new designs .... from "The Quilt Card Collection", the large size greeting card with the full size pattern and instructions inside. The completed stitchery is around 50cm x 38cm (20"x15"). I worked it in DMC Red 221 - I love to collect ivory/cream tone on tone fabrics, they make a great canvas for my stitcheries.
FRIENDSHIPS ARE SEWN ....
I think this had about 6 different versions before I came up with the final layout idea, and possibly a dozen more drawings to get to this final design. I looked around my collection of old stitching tools to get inspiration - I don't use any mechanical/computer help when drawing, everything is with my favourite hb pencil and eraser ... once the final version is ready I'm often amazed at how thick my file is with paper scraps, I hate to throw them away, they have a story to tell too!
If you would like to know where you can get hold of this Quilt Card, feel free to contact me and I'll try to find a store for you. When I first started out 10 years ago, word of mouth became my greatest method of getting new stores to stock my designs, shop keepers would ring me saying that a lady had just brought in a Kit In A Card she has been given, how can they stock them too? - so if you have a favourite store you think might like this style of product, let me know!
The other new Quilt Card is A WISE OLD OWL ...
This project finishes around 30cm x 38cm (12" x 15"), before the borders are added.
There is a funny story about how this card was designed. I had many, many requests from stores for an owl greeting card, but I waited as I thought there were a lot of owls around and I didn't want to be influenced by another designers work (I'm all about originality).
So last winter I gathered up some very old childhood books, a favourite pair of Owl PJs, my much loved box of 72 Derwent pencils and a bundle of white paper - I gave these to my daughter Jessica and our friend Tirian (both 11 at the time) and asked them to give me a couple of different versions using the pictures as a guide. We then took different parts of each girl's designs and together they made their final drawing, then it was my turn to draw the final version of the design you see here. The poem is something fun that has been retold to me MANY times during my childhood, the product of being a chatterbox I'm afraid!
I hope you like it :)
My cuppa is finished, so I'm off to finalise this new giveaway drawing .... Talk to you soon,
PS - Is it cold where you are? I have the wood heater pumping out at full speed, but I think I need to put on another jumper .... brrrr, but perfect stitching weather!
I just wanted to share a good news story, something that may trigger an idea in someone else.
Today's Queensland Flood fundraising update from "stitching central" (also known as The Country Quilt Co, headed by Queen Suzanne) was a lovely story from a lady in New Zealand.
There was a package waiting at the post office in Ipswich for Suzanne, surprisingly the post has got up to speed quite quickly, inside she found a shoebox. Shoes????, no something much better! A lovely lady had seen the destruction on her TV, and had read what Suzanne was hoping to do for all the ladies connected to refuge centres and the hope of making quilts to raise much needed funds, so she went through her vast craft stash and piled in a wide variety of items for stitchers, bead lovers, even a few things for kids .... this thoughtful care package came with a card asking Suzanne to pass the items on to those who need to rebuild their stashes.
OKAY, THAT WAS MY WOW MOMENT FOR THE DAY .....
So I have started combing through my stashes and have come up with a lot of little applique and stitchery kits from previous designs in the Kit In A Card Collection, I've also found a lot of DMC threads and am still hunting through to see what I can fit inside a box (that will fit inside a 3kg Express Post Bag). The idea being that as ladies get a little normal routine back in their family's life, they will need to start building up their supplies again, and we all know how expensive that could be.
I have told this "happy story" to quite a few people today, and they too are going to hunt out appropriate items to post off.
If you think you can donate some items, a shoe box size would be a good guide, then your thoughtful act will touch many hearts.
If your stash might include items for lovers of all things ..... embroidery stitching, patchwork, scrapbooking, beading, card making, cross stitching, knitting, ..... what else can you think of?
Please think what you, and maybe your friends, could offer.
The lady to send everything to is the amazing duracel bunny herself,
The Country Quilt Co
2 Pine Mountain Road
North Ipswich QLD 4305
Telephone: 07 3294 7000
And speaking of boxes, I thought I would share with you some of my 12 year old daughter's latest crafty passion. During a Maths class last year, a substitute teacher came up with a new way to get the kids adding, multiplying and dividing numbers in a fun way. Using 16 sheets of paper, and about an hour of time (and sore fingers from pressing), Jessica has been turning my scrapbooking paper stash (12"x12") into these masterpieces ...
I paid her to make some as gifts at Christmas (many were filled with Lindt chocolate balls), they were all received with appropriate ooohhhhhss and aaahhhhhhss.
The original box she gave me also had a couple of dozen love notes inside, she had wrapped them around a pencil, so inside the box I have all these swirly notes of love. I was very teary reading how grateful she is for the things I sometimes think she may take for granted, nice to know what I do, does not go unnoticed.
I think the boxes look quilt "patchworky", and I'm considering bringing her along next time I teach at a retreat, to give a quick class!
So after quite a few sad days, hopefully I've left you with a few happier stories today.
Take care, hug the ones you love, night night, Janet x
PS - Jessica is wanting to sell some of her boxes (using MY expensive paper!!), and donate the money for the flood victims - do you think stitching ladies might like them? They are 6" wide, with matching upper and lower.
Yesterday I made an impulse purchase. My friend Tais was closing her dressmaking store RUBY DEAN, it was her last day, so I popped in for a quick goodbye. Sitting in a basket, on her counter, were these yummies, just begging me to take them home.
Just like sweet treats, I had to know my limit, so I just purchased 3 metres of each. Although they just look too pretty the way they are, until I can come up with something to do with them, last night I rolled them onto my wooden spools. Now they can just be delicious dust collectors until I can come up with a project. This little ric rac is also great to use on scrapbooking projects.
Today I was able to finalise all the details for the the stitchery pattern I have donated to the Queensland Flood fundraising, being run by Suzanne at The Country Quilt Co - Helen Stubbings and I are both supporting her efforts.
Along with her amazing work, Suzanne has become a great comfort to local ladies who just need somewhere familiar to spend a little time, they help out making the stitchery project kits she is giving away to the refuge centres, and are able to talk with others who know exactly what they have gone through. Today they were all rocked by the death of a friend - it must be devastating.
I think it is important for those of us not "there" is realise the exceptional support people like Suzanne are so generously offering - in a time of crisis we all need some Suzanne's to help make things happen.
It was very disappointing to hear (actually disappointing is an understatement) that a large Australian company has withdrawn their original generous support, instead they are offering a "discount" on supplies for the stitchery kits given out to the refuge centres ... I suggested they be given a day to reconsider (seeing as they have been publicly acknowledged for their generosity already), before harsh words are spoken and it becomes a PR horror story for them.
I know from all the work I did 2 years ago with the bush fire projects that many will wave their arms and offer to help in the early days, then when things go quiet on the news, somehow they forget their generosity, and when you are the "face" who has promised things, it is too costly for one person to fund all the work that needs to be done. Sorry, I'm rambling, I try to see the good in everyone, but am unfortunately mindful of other types of people. I hope this company has a change of heart.
So to all those who are helping in some small way, whether with money, support, stitching, donating goods or the amazing clean up crews - you are the ones who are AMAZING, so thank you.
Wishing you "sweet" dreams, Janet x
PS - My friend Tais was totally burnt out in the Black Saturday bushfires 2 years ago, she lost her home, all her belongings and it has only been in the past month that her family are now all living under the one roof again. She has decided on a "slight" change of life and is going back to school to get her Teaching Diploma so she can teach her design/sewing/pattern drafting skills at a high school level ... she is very excited, and I wish her all the luck in the world - she deserves it!
Okay, first can I just say ..... I LOVE LOVE LOVE my new IPhone, if for no other reason than tonight it has saved me BIG TIME. I could not find the cable for my camera so I could download the stitchery I have been "literally" working my butt off to have finished in time for it's great unveiling tonight. So in my bleary brain I suddenly remembered I have a recharge cord for the phone that connects to the laptop. Farmer Rowe kindly bought me a fancy shmancy new laptop for Christmas (I have to fight the other 2 off if I want to use it, because it is soooooooooooooooooo fast on the internet!!!!!).
Anyway, I think I have gone off topic "again". So the photo below shows where I was at around 4pm this afternoon, I sent an IPhone photo to my friends Teresa, Kim, Carol and Sue ... and luckily they all liked it (another bonus of my new phone is this photo exchange gizmo, never had it before ... LOVE IT!). Off topic again!, so here is the pic ...
I was asked to produce it in one colour, so it is DMC Red 221 (my favourite), I used a cream tone on tone spot, but am not that happy with the flair up when photographing, must remember that for future samples. The black illustration is my first draft, can't believe I did it in one go, I usually re-draw around 20 times.
Jessica is having her BF for a sleepover, the kids kept coming in and asking what time they could make dinner (luckily we had all agreed on "design your own Pizzas" in the supermarket earlier in the day) - but I insist on overseeing the Pizza oven, so they were told when the final stitch is done we can eat ... BUT NOT BEFORE! As the girls had been facebooking between the different computers and sending me little love messages, I decided to actually load it up on my facebook wall that no one would eat till I was done, so they went and walked the dog to curb their appetite.
And then at 7.06pm I stitched the final stitch, snipped my back threads and this was the end result.
Its a 4.5" x 4.5" stitchery, on a 6" square. You can find it on Suzanne's website for $10 (full kit, 2 stitcheries, iron on transfers, fabric, thread, return envelope etc.). Helen Stubbings is the other designer who has offered stitcheries, you can see her offerings at her latest blog post at Hugs N Kisses.
To find out more and order one for yourself (and maybe a friend) visit Country Quilt Co. Honestly, Suzanne Conroy is one of the most generous people you will ever meet. Her time, her customer service standards, her humour, her cooking (she bakes in the shop too), her great friendship, her wisdom, her experience .... can you tell I think a lot of her? Well she has endured through these floods too, and yet she was back to the shop to start helping others (with no power on her property she emptied her home fridge and freezer of thawing food when she could finally get to her shop's kitchen, and started cooking for all her neighbours who did get flooded out) - ours is a phone friendship, I hope to come up and see her sometime soon.
Okay, my set task has been completed, tomorrow is a new day. Getting ready to get Wildcraft Farm kicking back into gear again.
Its, Night Night from Me ....... oh great, looks like the girls are all out for the count so I can creep off to bed ...... talk to you soon,
PS - Just remembered, have to make a batch of our AMAZING vanilla with chocolate flakes ice-cream for our unwell friend first thing in the morning, then I'll get started with work!
Wow ... it's been a worldwind here at Wildcraft Farm.
Monday 17 January was to be the start of a whole new working life, 5 minutes into my day and my great first day plans got put on hold (more about that later).
The past few months have seen such a wide range of emotions here, far too many to dwell on, but a very brief snapshot would include .... brain tumour, breast cancer x1, breast cancer x2, hospital visits, broken bones, death and extreme sadness. But also joy of a Grade 6 Graduation, plus small incidental things that we are now trying to focus on more.
I had planned on restarting Wildcraft Farm last week, and then we were rocked by the death of my friend of 27 years DIANE. I've never lost of a friend, and although we knew it was coming, no one wanted to think about the utter loss we would all feel. Her funeral was amazing, so many people, her kids spoke so well, it was clear that her life had such purpose and she had a clear goal JUST DO IT!
I knew how much she had impacted on my life, it was lovely to hear that so many felt the same way. So I left her funeral full of resolve, full of love for my friend and determination to pick myself up, dust myself off and to JUST DO IT!
So back to yesterday, I had spent many hours rearranging and tidying my office/workroom on Sunday, in preparation for all the work I wanted to get done. As just about everyone in the world would know, Australia has been hit with such extreme weather conditions, currently we are suffering in country Victoria (water won't drain away still, it's so hard for the workers to get in and help), but of course Queensland has not been off our television for more than a week.
I had planned on a trip to Queensland this week, but my friend Suzanne had advised that the humidity was extreme (and Jessica had her arm in a plaster cast - more on that to come) it would have been too uncomfortable for her (and me!). I had kept in touch with Suzanne each day, and then we lost contact. As she is in the Ipswich area it was very worrying, and I became (in Jessica's words) a stalker.
Left messages for her daily, then a couple of times a day as we started to get VERY worried about her. Thank goodness for Facebook, a little comment let everyone know that although she was trapped, she was okay.
Two years ago when I felt utter despair with the surrounding bush fires, and just had to do something (and all my blog friends around the world heard the call and were amazing), Suzanne was one of my great supporters. So I knew how she felt when she realised that she had the means, connections and know how to do something for her surrounding towns.
So back to yesterday, started at 10am here (sorry, but Jessica still on school holidays, so I'm on "flexi" time), at 10.05am I thought I would just do a check in to Suzanne (she also happens to be a customer!), and was greeted by a very determined woman on a mission. Our conversation was long, but by the end of it I had offered to design a project that will become part of some charity quilts to auction. So I set to work on doing a sketch, emailing that, then a final sketch ... that was "approved", and then tracing off to start stitching a sample quickly. These will hopefully all be ready to go by later today!
Everyone can help out, from the comfort of their armchair ... I can tell you from experience, that even helping in a small way can make you feel like you are contributing. Plus you can track your final works progress on line as it comes time to distribute the quilts.
So what Suzanne has planned is a little KIT that can be posted out to you, includes EVERYTHING, plus a return envelope. You can stitch up my gorgeous project (the style has been taken from one of my most popular designs FRIENDSHIP BREW), then return it to Suzanne, where it will be turned into a feature block in quilts they are making up in her store, these will then be handed out to the surrounding (and hopefully, further afield) community leaders to auction to raise very much needed funds. The cost of the little kit (including postage within Australia, just a little more for overseas postage) is only $10 - a small donation which could turn into so much more.
The link to find out more is
So I have some more stitching to do, planned on scheduling in my break and would return to start work again today ..... and then Farmer Rowe got home around midnight with the news that our driveway was completely blocked with a HUGE tree fallen across our pathway off the farm. So I am now waiting for a call to get dressed in my working clothes (farm work, not stitching work) and start helping chainsaw and stack and remove the wood, he thinks it will take 3 HOURS!!!!!!
So my day is looking a little shakey again, really hoped to get back on track, but then in the words of my dear friend, I will ... JUST DO IT!
So I hope your day goes a little more to plan, but if it doesn't, I'm learning to just roll with the punches, and as Jessica and I now say, if you wake up in the morning - It's a good day!!!
Talk to you very soon, off to get my work clothes on :( Janet x
PS - Of course there had to be a PS ..... one of our high points in the past few months has been Jessica's graduation from Grade 6, so I thought I would share a picture of my gorgeous girl. She has achieved, conquered and learnt so much, we just love her to bits!
Life Is Pretty Damn Good!
These last few days have been a real awakening to me, and as so many of my lovely blogland friends have been a great support with their kindness, friendship and readiness with an occasional shoulder to cry on ... well, I just thought I should share a couple of great things.
The past 2 years (wow, it's actually been nearly that long), I have been on a bit of a time out, needing to take stock of some issues that have nothing to do with my work, so I really closed down inside, which is definitely not the usual me.
This was the main reason my blog posting has been irregular. The reasons are not really my stories to tell ... but I am pleased I can tell you that we seem to have got through them. I wish I could go back in time and tell myself that "you will get through this" and "one day, these times will be a distant memory".
So anyway, this morning I was given the task of taking the horses rugs off. Farmer Rowe took Jessica to school and it wasn't long before the sun came out. Even after all this amazing rain, when the sun comes out the poor girls can really cook under those big heavy rugs.
I took my camera outside, and went looking for Bubs (our Thoroughbred), found her nibbling the lovely spring grass amongst the magnolia trees ...
So while I wrestled with the heavy rugs, I discovered that some friends had been let out from their rather waterlogged home and were coming for a "sticky beak" ...
One at a time, they came pecking around my feet ...
Of course all 7 wouldn't pose together for me!!! Then I noticed how many buttercups we have on the property, apparently dangerous for horses (I'm pretty sure they know not to eat them), and then a flood of memories came back to me ...
When I was little, my Mum used to put the buttercup under my chin, apparently if it gave my chin a yellow glow, it meant I loved butter. But as I am terribly ticklish, especially around my neck, it usually ended up with me doubled over in giggles ... happy days.
And then I looked up to my parents kitchen window, and there were the two of them smiling and waving, about to have their breakfasts (thanks to the chooks). My eyes started burning and I had to hold back the tears, because I can't believe it is about 2 months now, we didn't think Mum would still be here. But her hair is already growing back, her doctors are amazed at her progress and they have even given her the go-ahead to start some driving again. I really wish I could have jumped back two months ago to tell myself about this morning.
While Mum and Dad ate their scrumptious eggs, we were catching up on some family news as we have recently tracked down some extended family in the UK. And then I was able to share some other pretty amazing news about Jessica, again I wish I could jump back 2 years ago and tell myself about this chat.
Yesterday she told me about her day at school, just another ordinary day, or so it would seem to an outsider. But for us we are so glad of the friends she now has, the kindness that they show her, the friendships that they all now take for granted, the girls (and boys) who will stick up for her when someone is out of line and for her amazing Teacher who is constantly encouraging friendships amongst her class. I tear up whenever I hear these wonderful new stories, and slowly they are pushing away the past ones.
I also wanted to share, because I know that I'm not the only one who has gone through hard times, but if it helps anyone to know that there are good times coming around the corner, well maybe it might offer a little encouragement.
So ........ as these chooks started me on this little morning adventure down memory lane, and as things are looking brighter (not just the glowing sun outside), I think they should spread a little more joy.
Would anyone like the pattern for this ...
It was inspired by our chooks, and was in a previous issue of Australian Country Threads, it works like a bracelet, the pin cushion has extra re-enforcement so you won't get stabbed with the pins ...
So this is my very small way of giving back to those wonderful friends, so many I have never met (yet), thanks for your support ... and to those who are going through "stuff", just know that as hard as it may seem, something is around the corner, and somehow you will have a sunny day again too.
For now, because I can't get on to my dear friend Darlene to show me how to upload properly, send me a comment and I'll send you the pattern via email ... maybe you could tell me about a sunny day you have had ... hey, lets just work those positive, uplifting stories!!!!
What ever your day brings you, I'm hoping you have a little sunshine - Janet xox
PS - I have been trying to track down some blog friends from a few years ago, so if I have accidently sent you a message in your inbox a few times .... sorry, I'm better with a pen and paper than a mouse and technical stuff. Thanks to a computer meltdown a while ago, so many of my contacts are gone forever, so I would love it if you could share with your friends about this post. Big Hugz x