Stitching on holiday

imageThis week my stitching place is the stuff of dreams. Beautiful view, great light during the day and a lamp for when it gets dark. A fireplace to keep me warm – there is actually snow outside despite it being May. Between the view and the fire, it’s a wonder I am getting any stitching done at all.

Lately I have been working on keeping life simple. With that in mind, instead of bringing a larger more complex project with me on holiday I went with something simple and easy.

For my project this holiday I am working on the model for a bookmark. My stitching packing list was:

  • Pattern
  • Aida
  • The 3 colors used in the project
  • 1 contrasting color for the grid – I could have brought only the 3 colors but the habit of using a contrasting color for the grid is too ingrained in me.
  • 3 needles – somehow I always break needles
  • My trusty scissors – I make sure to pack them in the checkin luggage
  • Dental floss – not only good for keeping my teeth and gums healthy but also great to cut threads if I want to stitch on the airplane.


Since it’s a small narrow and stiff piece of Aida I don’t need a frame. This is such a change from past trips when I brought along large projects with complex charts and many color changes. In the end I didn’t stitch at all because it was too much trouble to get my project out and set up.

This time, it all fits in a small pouch and I can easily carry it along with me wherever we go… So I am actually stitching whenever I am in the mood for it!

Ubuntu – Finished!

DSC00372Its been a long time since I’ve had a finish of the stitchy kind… Today changes that. This morning I finished my Ubuntu bookmark. Just in time to use it on my holiday!

The front of the bookmark has the Zulu word “Ubuntu”. Meaning human kindness, compassion and the interconnectedness between us all. If you you want to know more about it, you can read about it here.

For the back I wrote the words “we are one” with a rainbow coloured background using assisi work. South Africa is the rainbow nation after all.

This was such a simple design to make and an easy stitch… yet it is so meaningful. ❤


ubuntu previewUbuntu is a beautiful word from the Xhosa and Zulu people of South Africa. It can be simply translated as human kindness and compassion. However, it is so much more than that, it includes the principle of connectedness: ‘I am what I am because of who we all are’.

The images and news coming out of southern Africa right now are just the opposite of what ubuntu means. I can only hope that soon tempers will cool down and peace is restored to an area of the world that is so close to my heart.

I felt compelled to create a chart for a simple bookmark with the word Ubuntu. For the back I have decided to chart the words “we are one” outlined in the rainbow colours. Each time I use the bookmark, it will remind me to be kind and compassionate… and that we are all connected in this little blue planet we call Earth.

Once I have stitched it, I intend to make the pattern available to anyone that wants it for free.

I end this post with one of my favourite quotes from Nelson Mandela, one I hope the people of South Africa will take to their hearts:

“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” – Nelson Mandela

Easy win – Checker Alphabet

Its been a rough week at work and I had the flu to boot and I am dreading next week. I needed an easy win last night to get me in the mood for the weekend.

A browse through my old designs and WIP charts and I found that it wouldn’t take much to finish the chart for the Checker Alphabet. So thats what I did, finished it and released it on Etsy. Its not perfect but its done.

Thats the first of the 6 patterns I would like to release this year. Small happy dance!IMG_3216

Belle SAL

IMG_1650One of the benefits of the return of my creative energy is that I finally completed the chart for the I Love Cross Stitch sampler. This sampler is only available to a small group of ladies in the Belle SAL group.

I will be forever grateful for the patience and the support that these ladies gave me while they waited for me to get my act together and finally release the pattern.

Now that it is released, it is so much fun to see what the sampler looks like in all the different colour schemes which my fellow stitchers have selected. I can barely wait to see what all the finished pieces will looks like… and what modifications are made to the sampler!

Towards the end of the year, I plan to release a slightly modified version of the sampler that will allow more people to stitch the sampler. The modification I will make is to replace the quote “I cross stitch and I’m not ashamed of it” with a different quote… I have a couple of different options that I am considering. I’ll let you all know once I have decided. 🙂

7 hours in the life of a mother!

I don’t have much to report on the stitching and designing front… been a little busy with day to day mothering stuff (even with all the help from “daddy” – we do make a great team!). Here is a little 7 hour sample from last night:

4:00pm: change both girls nappies. write and send email to builders regarding bathroom fittings.
4:10pm: afternoon snack with Ila, drink glass of milk and glass of water, look for scissors and pencil without anyone noticing and smuggle them into handbag
4:30pm: calm Lena down and feed her while searching for steam train videos on youtube to keep Ila entertained
5:00pm: gives up on reaching builders over the phone
5:05pm: bath with Ila, thankfully Lena is a curious spectator through it all
5:30pm: move operations to the kitchen. empty and re-fill dishwasher with Ila’s help, stop to entertain Lena every few minutes, get dinner started Continue reading

Miracle and Pu-erh

I am not sure what I did right today… a miracle happened and both my girls are napping at the same time (2years-10months and 3months old). They’ve mastered sleeping overnight in the same room… now with a bit of luck nap time is heading that way too.

The husband and dog are out on a bike ride. That means some rare quiet time for me!

I am taking the time to enjoy a cup of pu-erh tea, a slice of banana bread and a read of 1001 ways to relax (thanks Bonnie!). Pu-ehr is Sherlock Holmes tea of choice. I like to think that its named after the sound people make when they first try it… its like the Guinness beer of teas.

After I finish my cup of tea… I’ll be stitching on one of my long ignored WIPs:

This is the one I picked up as my WIP Wednesday UFO. I am ashamed to say that I had to clean out the spiderwebs before I could actually work on it… The piece is Summer in My Garden by Mirabilia.

Doing the right thing?

I’ve always prided myself at being a brave person and generally doing the right thing. An event last week left me pondering about what exactly the right thing is.

We were at a large bank getting some cash out when 2 guys walked in. By “we”, I mean myself, my 2 little girls, a good friend of mine and her daughter. The 2 guys looked non-threatening, one of them was carrying a small courier bag. One of the guys said to the other “I take this door you take the other”. This raised the hair on the back of my neck as I looked at where my 2 girls and my friends daughter were and pictured a bank holdup. Looking around I saw no security guards and no other children around. A second glance at the guys showed that they were lining up to get to a teller, no doubt the comment was directed at getting through the lunch time bank crowd as quick as possible. Nonetheless, I couldn’t wait to get out of the bank with all 3 girls. Fortunately, my friend was done and we walked out almost immediately.

It felt like a cowardly thing to do… it still kind of does. At the same time cold logic tells me my instinct at the time was right, get the 3 girls out of there. Their safety is my first and main responsibility. Had I truly felt that the guys were really a threat I had the option to call the emergency number and warn the police.

We were around the area for a bit longer and heard no sirens, so the guys were really just there on an errand. Poor choice of words on their part.

This little event somehow is stuck in my mind since it gave me a taste for how I would re-act in such a situation. I have mixed feelings about it… but there you go, these are the mothering years of my life.

How To: Cork boat rafts fun!

A few weeks ago I was looking at a handful of corks and wondering what to do with them. Thats when I remembered how well cork floats!

Unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures of the building process, but its simple enough… and part of the fun is the experimentation process to get it all to hold together! Scroll to the bottom of the post for a picture of what the rafts look like and a video that shows how surprisingly sturdy they are…

This will provide entertainment at least twice: first building the rafts and later playing with them.


You’ll need: Corks, some string (we used crochet yarn), sticks and something to make sails with (reporposed foam, plastic or even tree leaves will work). And of course, your little ones as helpers!

1. Tie the string to one of the corks. Tightly!
2. Grab a 2nd cork. Place it alongside the 1st cork and start winding/wrapping the string around both corks, use 8 and 0 shapes… Tightly!
3. Now get corks 3 and 4, using the same string repeat step 2 with these corks. Every now and then wrap the string back around the first 2 corks. Keep alternating. Tightly.
4. Run a few loops between the 2 pairs of corks. Tightly.
5. When everything is holding together, tie off the string.
6. Cut a stick to the size you want for a mast. Then just push it in where the 4 corks meet.
7. Cut your sail to shape and add 2 small holes. Slide it in place on the mast.
8. Test your boats floats upright. Adjust if needed.

Hopefully this makes some sense… Looking at the picture below should help. Its raft science, not rocket science!

Now take those rafts for a spin at your local fountain or pond… and have fun.

Our rafts have been played with at the fountain, in the bathtub, several sinks and assorted buckets. Ila still hasn’t tired of playing with them!