Friday, 23 October 2015

Using decorative stitching in your Quilting

I have been using my decorative stiches in my quilting since about April 2015 when I purchased my new singer CE-150 sewing machine. My machine that I was using before that had decorative stitches but I didn't really give it that much thought and being an older machine the decorative stitches it has are maybe not so appropriate for quilting.

Now that I have my new singer machine it has 3 main decorative stitches that I love to use in my quilting now. It has the serpentine stitch, a star stitch and a vine (leaf) stitch. I am finding myself using these stitches more and more and I love the effect that it has given to my quilting experience. I feel like it has completely transformed some of my quilting projects. I also love to use these stiches when I am quilting my projects because I have found that  with my machine it kind of pulls the fabric through itself and all I have to do is guide it and with the chronic neck pain that I have been suffering from it has been a godsend with taking the pressure off my neck, shoulder and arm.

                                                            Serpentine stitch

I tend to use the serpentine stitch for all of my bigger quilting projects now because it is probably the quickest stitch out of the 3 and also seems to look the most effective on larger quilts, but I love to use all 3 of these stitches on smaller mini quilts or cushions and love the effect it  gives the project. I will show you some examples below.

                                                                      Star stitching

                                                              Vine (leaf ) stitching

Also look how effective this star stitching looks just on a plain black background fabric.  I have cross hatched it using 2 different shades of gold embroidery thread and the effect has turned out amazing and completely transforms a plain old piece of fabric to a work of art before you have even done anything else to it.

 I have even used the decorative stitches to machine sew my binding down and it just adds a little bit of a different touch to it.

So if your sewing machine has some decorative stitches and you find yourself not really using them with being a quilter, why not give it a try and see if you like the effect. Your possibilities are endless.

Hope you enjoy trying out some of your decorative stitches and let me know how you like it.

Take care and have a lovely weekend.

Monday, 19 October 2015

The struggle of being less than perfect

This is something that I have wanted to write about for a long time. It's scary to open up about all of this stuff and  It's not something that I am writing as a pity party but something that I would like to share to help others suffering through silent disabilities and life's struggles to  make this somewhat of a support and comfort for others so that you don't feel like you are alone in things that are sometimes so difficult to deal with. I believe in building people up with their strengths not knocking them down for their weaknesses. The world is a tough enough place already with the pressure's of life, so I would rather  choose to be kind and make people feel good about themselves no matter what they are capable of.

After everything that I have been through I like to live my life by the motto " live in the moment" that's really all any of us can do because we never know what is coming next. Especially if you suffer from chronic pain and the sorts you can go to bed with the best laid plans for what you want to do the next day but you never know what the next day is going to bring pain wise and you may be bed ridden for the day or days. So sometimes you just have to roll with the punches, know your limitations and do what you can.

I grew up with a pretty normal happy childhood but my adulthood life has been far from what I ever expected for myself. I got married at a young age (which was something that I wanted) to the man who I thought was my soul mate but alas things didn't turn out or go down the road that I wanted it to be with it becoming an extremely mentally abusive relationship that eventually  ended in divorce. Through that marriage we had 5 children together and 3 of those babies were born prematurely (which as a mother even though you know there is nothing you could have done to change that fact still makes you feel like a failure or that your body has failed you in some way).

 I eventually met a wonderful man who is now my husband eventually we started to try for a baby which was also something that was a failure on my part. We had lots of struggles with trying to conceive and did many, many rounds of IVF (we got pregnant once but it ended in miscarriage) Through our time of trying to conceive was when I started getting chronic foot pain and doctors wouldn't believe me when I told them how bad it was and  I started to become very depressed and felt so alone. I got to a point where I felt like I was invisible I stopped going to doctors because none of them would do anything or even cared that I was in so much pain and could barely walk. This foot pain went on for about 4 years before I finally found a doctor willing to do anything and after having a breakdown over it she finally ran some tests and realized that I had a begin tumor in the nerve in my foot which was causing all this nerve pain reaction which is why it was so bad. I also had a severe case of planter fasciitis  which I still live with both of these conditions now along with other chronic pain conditions throughout my body. So between all of the failed IVF and chronic pain I started to isolate myself from friends and family because I was at a point where I felt that I had nothing good to offer to anyone else. I couldn't do things like a normal person and I felt like my body had completely failed me and at such a young age. I started to worry and focus on what my future was going to be like if I was in this much pain now how was I ever going to cope with my future as the pain got worse.

Then just over a year ago I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and can I say this past year has been somewhat of a roller coaster ride but it has opened my eyes up to just how important life is and that life is too short and worth fighting for (even if it doesn't feel that way sometimes) . I have realized that people we meet in our lives are all for a reason and it shapes us in some way the people we are. Some people are there for the good and some people are there for not so good but I have learned that there comes a time in life when you need to walk away from all the drama and people who create it. Surround yourself with people who make you feel good and make you laugh. Forget the bad and focus on the good. Love the people who treat you right. Pray for the ones who don't Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is part of life but getting back up time and time again is called living. There are always going to be those people you come across in your life who don't notice any of the rough things you are going through but only notice your mistakes and they are the ones to walk away from.

I have been asked many, many times how I managed to go on living after everything that has happened to me and quite simply It's because no matter what I am a survivor not a victim. I try to remind myself of that every day and it helps me to pull myself together. I still have my days  when things are so much harder than other's but the more people I have met through instagram and groups that I am part of that also suffer from chronic pain I have realized that I am not alone through all of this and there are many of us out there that suffer from chronic pain disorders or depression and I want to be able to give back some of the support that I have now found through those friendships. (even though we have all never met the support and love that I have felt this past few months especially from my instagram community has been so amazing and has made me feel like the happier old me that I used to be before all the struggles. ) So if I can do the same for others out there struggling with this thing called life and focus on people's positives and help someone else out and reach out to anybody that is struggling and just say to be kind to yourself and take one day at a time. Reach out if you are having a bad day and need support. Your life is worth living.

All any of us can do is the best that we can. We are not perfect (no body is) and those people in our lives who constantly feel the need to put us down are not worth having in our lives. If you suffer from silent disabilities ( like chronic pain, fibromyalgia, depression and so forth) we have our limitations but there is nothing showing on our bodies that tell others what's actually going on inside so we need to speak up a little more than those people that have disabilities that are obvious. That is something that I am learning to do more and more. I am a people pleaser and like to make or keep others happy over myself but I have realized through my journey that if I am not happy I can't make anybody happy. If I am having a bad flare up of a day then I need to be clear on what I can and can't do because these days people expect a lot and I am not capable of those things and even though you tell people over and over again you can't do it, because you are not in a wheelchair or have something that is obvious to them they seem to forget what you are going through.  So all remember to look after yourselves and speak up when you need to.

It's not about being right or wrong in this tough world, but  I like to view it more on the level about whether this person is the right fit for me. I am a very patient person and I give people loads of chances but I eventually get to a point where I need to sit back and make a call on things and I do this now by asking myself a list of questions. Does this person make me feel happy? Does this person make me feel good about myself or are they always giving me negative feedback? Does this person make me feel the best I can when I am around them or are they trying to bring me down? And if I am feeling that I am constantly being criticized or getting negative feedback and I am losing all motivation due to someone trying to bring me down, then I know it's time to walk away and let go of those people.


And just remember this saying:

"Your value does not decrease based on someone's inability to see your worth"

When all is said and done:

"I choose happy"

I hope all of my reader's out there are doing well and remember if you need help, reach out to someone. A friend, a doctor, my ear's are always open if you need someone to talk to.
Take care my lovely people and have a great week.

Friday, 9 October 2015

Microwave chocolate slice

Since this has been a very difficult week with severe hypothyroid symptoms  I thought I would keep today's blog post simple and share with you this quick and easy treat.

This recipe brings back so many memories for me because it reminds me of a time when life was so much simpler and my children were young and I would make this for them as a quick afternoon treat for when they arrived home from school. I hope you enjoy this recipe too.

Slice Ingredients:

1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup castor sugar
1 Tbls cocoa
1 cup coconut (desiccated)
125g margarine / butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Slice method:

1. Place all your dry ingredients into a mixing bowl and mix with a wooden spoon.

2. Melt margarine / butter in a microwave safe bowl. Will take between 30 seconds and 1 min.
3. Pour melted margarine / butter into the dry ingredients and add your vanilla extract.

4. Mix all your ingredients together with a wooden spoon until they are well combined.

5. Pour your mixture into a well greased microwave safe container (I use a square pyrex dish)

6. Press mixture into container and microwave on high for approximately 3.5 mins
7. Allow to cool before adding icing.

Icing ingredients:

1 cup icing sugar
2 tbls cocoa
30g margarine / butter
2 tbls water
extra coconut ( I like to use shredded coconut for the top)

Icing method:

1. Melt margarine / butter with water in microwave safe bowl
2. Using sifter sift icing sugar and cocoa into a separate bowl.
3. Mix the butter / water mix into the icing sugar mixture and mix well with a whisk.
4. Pour the icing mixture over the slice base and spread out evenly.
5. Sprinkle with the extra coconut and then allow icing to set before cutting into pieces.

Hope you all enjoy this quick and easy no fuss morning or afternoon treat.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Embroidery/ quilting hoop holder

Today I have another exciting tutorial for you. I have had this on my to do list for a while now. My sewing room is very small and limited on space so as my stash of supplies grows (you know the fabric and stuff we just have to buy) the less space I have to work with. So I am constantly trying to come up with ways in which I can make things pretty but still functional. I really needed somewhere to store all my embroidery hoops but I rent a house with double brick walls so putting something up on the walls is not a feasible option for me, so I came up with something that I could screw to the side of my cabinet and I love how it turned out.

I started out by getting a piece of 9mm MDF cut to fit the size of the space that I needed it for and then I spray painted it with 2 coats of a matt white spray paint.

Once that had dried I then used a ruler and masking tape to mark out spaces. I just chose random width's but if you want them even you could also do that. You can see in the picture below how I have done that.

Then I used 5 different colours of a water based paint and painted mine like a rainbow as you can see from the pictures and once again this process also took 2 coats of each colour.  After the paint had dried I peeled off the masking tape. As you can see on one of my colours it peeled a little bit of the paint away, you can easily go back and touch that up with a small paint brush. Then I applied 2 coats of a clear water based varnish just to seal it and stop it from getting chipped as much.

I used 3 coat hooks. The ones I used here were bronze in colour and I wanted mine to be black so I used a matt black can of spray paint and gave them 2 coats of that including the screw's. ( Tip for painting your screw's, poke them into a box so that they are much easier to spray paint.)

Then once everything was completely dry I worked out my placement for my coat hooks while it was laying down on a flat surface and placing my embroidery hoops where I wanted them and then marked my spots for the coat hooks.  Once I  worked that out I had my husband  hang it on the side of my fabric cupboard.  I am so pleased how this little project has turned out and my stash of hoops now fits perfectly.

Thanks for reading a take care lovely people.

Friday, 2 October 2015

Mini decorative pot pincushions

Today I have a tutorial for the mini plant pot pincushions that I have made throughout the year. These little pots are so cute and I picked them up from Daiso Japan here in Australia where everything is $2.80. They have so many to choose from and you can probably get some other cute ones from Kmart or other $2 shops. You can also use cute mugs, egg cups anything of your choice. This is your project so get creative and make it your own. This is what one of mine looks like.

For this project  the supplies you will need are:


1. Pot or jar of your choice

2. polyester fibre fill

3. marking device (pen or pencil is just fine)

4. round template big enough ( I usually just use a plate or something from the home)

5. fabric of your choice big enough to cut your circle from

6. needle and thread ( I like to use perle 8 thread because it is stronger but you can use normal sewing cotton)

7. scissors

8. optional hot glue gun and hot glue sticks

I start by tracing and cutting  out a circle big enough to fit my pots. You will need a circle around double the measurement of the top of your pot.

 Cut around your circle and then take your needle and thread. (I like to use perle 8 thread because it is a little stronger but you can also use your sewing thread doubled over). I start by doing large running stitches around the edge of the circle about 1/2cm inside the edge and go all the way around the till you meet up with where you began stitching.

Then leaving your needle and thread still attached, make sure it is sitting on the outside of the circle and start putting your fibre fill in the middle of the circle. Fill it until it is as full as you can get it and along the way start pulling on your thread ( the end with the needle attached) to gather it up like so.

Once it is full to your liking you can pull the running stitch as tight as you can get it and knot it off securely.

Then you are going to put some fibre fill inside the bottom of your pot so that once your fabric pincushion top goes on it doesn't fall through.

Just keep testing it by putting your fabric stuffed circle that you have made on top and pushing down on it to make sure that you have enough stuffing inside your pot.

Now the next step is optional. On these particular ones I didn't need to do this step but on other ones I have had to.  You can run a bead of hot glue around the very top inside of your pot before you pop the top of your pincushion in there to hold it into place. (you will need to work quickly as the hot glue dries very fast) but it will hold it in place very securely.

Once you let your glue dry for a minute your cute little pincushion is complete.

And here are some others that I have made. So I hope you have fun giving some of these a try.

Take care lovelies and have the most amazing weekend (long weekend if you are in Australia)