Christmas wishes

Merry Christmas to everyone who might be reading this- I’m not sure how many there are, but thankyou all for visiting my site through the year! I wish you and all your family the very best for Christmas and the New Year.
I have a mini quilt here to show you that I made this Christmas. It is a design I made myself, using ‘wonky’ trees as the base blocks with splashes of colour strips thrown in here and there.
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Each tree block is made first by cutting triangle shapes and adding on side pieces at any odd angles. For the trunks, I cut and pieced 3 strips of fabric together then cross-cut into segments.
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I loved the bright blue Kaffe Fassett fabric so used that for the borders plus a contrasting fabric for strips down the middle. Even though I didn’t use traditional Christmas colours, the theme still comes through by using that tree shape. And anyway, I like its bright modern look with bright blues, pinks and oranges together :)
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My other love is text-style fabrics, so I used those for the background.
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I didn’t want the quilting to take away from the effect of the fabrics, so it was mainly in-the-ditch around the edges of each large section. I put little tabs in the top to be able to hang it up, and finished it off by sewing the back on ‘pillow-case style’ as I decided I didn’t want it to have a binding.
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Do you like it? I hope the recipient does!
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See you in the New Year!

it’s beginning to look like Christmas

I love seeing lots of handmade things at Christmas -time. I think it adds to the feeling of warmth and family, togetherness and keeping things basic and real. Most years I try to make a little something, or a couple of somethings, either for my own family or to give aways as gifts.
I made this little pear last year..
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and this little hanging..
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and this little bird…
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This year’s bounty includes this little postcard I sent to my daughter, this blog’s namesake!, while she studied for her final exams…
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I showed these little birds here last week, made for a friend…
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This stitchery was made quite a few years ago but is pulled out with the tree and its decorations each Christmas..
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and this ‘Christmas postcards’ hanging that my daughter and I made together many years ago..
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A shame we can only have them out for such a short time each year!

odds and ends

One thing I love about Christmas- among many things- is th eopportunity to handcraft little goodies to give as gifts. Little hand-made things don’t take a long time and they have a little something special about them.
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These little fellows are to hang in a tree, or just a hook or nail to briighten up the place for Christmas.
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There’s no pattern for them; I hand stitched a variety of stitches in bright-coloured wool thread on the bright green felt.
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Then just cut the shape out- I like birds!-, add in a loop of ribbon and some stuffing, then close with black free-motion stitching to add to the naive look.
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And on another thing I’m working on, I figured out something that was interesting. This is not really rocket science, but it has added to my background knowledge on how my machine works with different threads.
If you were stitching a line that you wanted to stop and turn a right-angle- don’t you stop with the needle in, lift the presser foot, turn the work, put foot back down and continue stitching to get the perfect right-angle? Well I did that. but kept getting this:
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when I wanted this:
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This was straight stitching- feed-dogs were up and with a walking-foot. I tried it a few times over and over on some scrap, but still the same
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Now I know to look at it, you think it is a tension problem, but the straight stitching looked to have perfect tension; the top thread and the bottom thread were meeting togther in the formation of the stitch. But as soon as I tried to turn a corner, the top thread was pulling up the bobbin thread.
So after fiddling around trying this and that, I figured I would have to loosen the top tension after all. I loosened it to about 2 (Auto is 4 on my Bernina), and there it was: worked fine! Happy now.
It must have been because the thread I was using was an embroidery-weight thread with a sheen to it, not a standard cotton, and while my machine seemed to be sewing beautifully on the straight line, once we got to the corner was a different matter!
And just one last thing to show- this work is by Meryl, from Gatton Quilters. A lovely piece that she designed herself to utilise some beautiful Liberty fabrics- I love how she has used the small print for the background.
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Hope you have had a good weekend!

a cute little deer

This is my cute little deer; sewn over the Christmas period and just a little late after the fact!

He is finished now, although I do wonder whether anything is ever ‘finished': I could do a lot more hand-stitching on it, but other things are beckoning so I think that’s good and enough.

The background cloth is an old linen I found at an Op shop and all of the various bits and pieces are either scraps left from other sewing projects or little fabric bits gifted to me by a friend who travelled to India a few years back (thanks Juliet!)

The cloth is done in the tradition of Jude Hill and her Spirit Cloth teachings. A lot different to my usual bright coloured quilts!

12 days of christmas

On the twelfth day of Christmas, the last before Christmas Day, there are 12 gifts under the tree.

There may, no- most probably end up being a lot more than that, even if temporarily! before the day is out.

Thankyou for following along with my special Christmas blog. I hope everyone has a happy and safe Christmas, spent with your loved ones, full of laughter and good cheer.

On this twelfth day of Christmas, Little Birdie has 12 gifts under the tree, 11 beautiful roses on the table, 10 yummy cherries, 9 christmas cards, 8 pieces of biscotti, 7 christmas stars, 6 little angels, 5 homemade goodies, 4 christmas cakes, 3 christmas stockings, 2 happy doggies and one little green felt pear!

eleventh day of christmas

It’s getting close now- today is the eleventh day of Christmas :)
Today I have eleven beautiful roses from our garden- courtesy of my husband who looks after them!

We have fresh roses for the Christmas table- I never tire of them.

Their perfume fills the house.
This is one of my favourites

On the eleventh day of Christmas we have 11 roses, on the tenth day we had 10 cherries, on the ninth day we had 9 Christmas cards, on the eighth day- you get the drift…..

tenth day of christmas

On this tenth day of Christmas, my attention switches to the fruits of the season. Christmas and cherries go hand in hand, so here we have a bowl of 10 cherries!

The only trouble being of course that they can be a tad expensive, so this is like 10 little pieces of gold!

And, what about a few ice-cold grapes as well?

ninth day of christmas

On the ninth day of christmas, we have nine handmade christmas cards.

These cards are made by my youngest two children, but mainly my daughter who started the tradition after first making one at primary school.
Each year she has made us a card

and I have kept all of them

to bring out each year.

Nine christmas cards to bring us some joy!

eighth day of christmas

At Christmastime, there are always lots of yummy eats around. I tried out a new recipe to create these biscotti. We have 8 pieces of Christmas biscotti on this little Christmas plate:

The recipe was easy to follow, and it did indeed taste yummy!

Here’s the recipe (from the Better Homes & Gardens (Aus) December edition):

Christmas Biscotti
Prep time: 30 mins plus overnight freezing Cooking: 45 mins

3 eggs 2 tspn vanilla extract 1 cup castor sugar
2 2/3 cups plain flour 1 tspn baking powder 1 tspn cinnamon
Finely grated zest of 1 orange 170g dried cranberries ¾ cup pistachios
Extra flour for kneading

1. Preheat oven to 180*. Line 2 oven trays with baking paper. Put eggs, vanilla and sugar in bowl of electric mixer and beat until thick and creamy. Sift flour, baking powder and cinnamon over egg mixture. Stir to combine. Add zest, cranberries and nuts. Stir to combine.
2. Turn out mixture onto lightly floured surface and gently knead until smooth. Divide into half and form each half into a log. Put logs onto prepared trays. Bake for 20 minutes., then swap trays and bake for a further 15 minutes or until light-golden and firm to touch. Cool completely. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze overnight.
3. Preheat oven to 150* and line 2 oven trays with baking paper. Use a sharp knife to cut logs into 5mm-thick slices. (I used a meat cleaver here to get through it!) Return to prepared trays. Bake for 10 minutes. Turn biscuits and bake for a further 10 minutes or until firm to touch. Cool on trays. Don’t cook any longer- they turn out really hard as it is.

seventh day of christmas

We have stars on this, the seventh day of Christmas, to add to our six angels, five handmade goodies, four christmas cakes, three stockings, two happy doggies and one little green pear.
This first star was made at school during that fun time of the last school term of the year- the Christmas craft week.

This star glistens and shines on the wooden shelf….

I made this star last year, out of white felt and silver thread, simple but cute to hang from the tree:

The star at the top of the tree:

A gift from a friend:

Greetings at the front door:

and last but not least, the {quiet and shy} sporting star :