Sunday, 2 February 2014

Opened for Business!!

Today marks a very exciting (and slightly terrifying) milestone in this little housewife's life. 

I opened an Etsy store!!!

Stitched to Life Etsy Store is slowly filling with canvases, hoop art, and shelf art to fill homes with Shabby chic delight in every form. Click the link for a sticky beak!!

Stitched to Life Canvas

Many of the items for sale have been posted on my Facebook page with more hidden away and unseen until I put them on Etsy!

I will still be attending markets around the larger Queensland area because, well, I want to meet all of the wonderful people who might like my work!!

Market dates will be announced as they are confirmed both on Facebook and here. 

Thank you to everyone who has supported me and my little dream throughout the last twelve months, an encouraging word and genuine appreciation of my work goes a long way to making this woman keep going!

A huge big sloppy THANK YOU goes to Mr B!! 

Without his help, eternal patience and learned understanding that work hours aren't always set in stone,weekends can be the best workdays and Yes, I can forget to feed our children when I'm in the studio, I would never have made it this far!!

May your bobbin always be full


Sunday, 29 September 2013

Frock me!!

Finally my computer is back!!!

I knew I loved technology however I had no idea just how dependant I was until I had to give up the laptop indefinitely. I feel like an addict who had just had a fix and now I can function again!!

If you have been following my Facebook page you would have seen I have been busy with family and lots of crocheting in the cooler weather. My Mum is slowly recovering from her surgery and as for the crocheting, Winter has well and truly left the building so my urge to be under layers of yarn has gone with it.
Mum's Quilt - Spot
Mum recovery in Rocky under her quilt I finally finished binding!
It's amazing what you can achieve without children!


Because I'm bored - NOT!!

October seems to be the month for women's cancer awareness. With Pink Ribbons for Breast cancer being the most well known and very worthy cause, I have, along with my beautiful childhood bestie in Sydney whom I shall refer to as Dorothy (It's a long story but he will totally love it!!), chosen to support the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation by taking up there challenge!!
Everyday this month I will be wearing a dress, almost all are original vintage, and posting the pic on my Facebook page, Stitched to Life. Most of the dresses will then be available for sale (Prices listed on the Facebook photo) and 10% of the sale will go to The Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation. 

If your not a dress person you could also give a donation straight to my donations site: Frocktober - Amanda @ Stitched to Life
The above page will allow you to donate, follow our journey and keep track of our goal amount. Remember all donations over $2 are tax deductible - we can send you a receipt if you would like one. 
I almost forgot to add that over the course of the month I will be creating an album on Facebook of possible dresses to wear for the month. If you donate you can then choose which of those dresses I have to wear during the month!!
For the more sadistic of you, Yes, I will be adding some shamers, and just so you know I am also working in the community most of this month as well!!

As for sewing....

I have been madly running around trying to catch up on my poor patient customers alterations and mending before I head back to the workforce next month but, well, I think the saying goes, "Kids happen!"
It's school holidays here and I had so many plans to keep the kids entertained, educated and cool, (getting up to 40degrees some days) so I could be super motivated.......didn't work. We ended up with hot, cranky, bored and driving me nuts!!!
To think I was getting sad Miss 4 was starting school next year!!
Mr B has promised me they will all be going fishing next weekend to give me some breathing time before things go back to normal. I'm counting the days!
I know, I know, I can hear you all saying cherish them, they won't be little for long and then they will fly the nest. I do agree however you will have to forgive for a moment as I am currently refereeing WW3 because Miss 4 BREATHED on Master 7!!
Is it too early for wine??
May your bobbin (and glass) always be full


Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Catching up with a MIA Blogger!!

Hello my lovely beautiful bloggy friends!!

I cannot believe it has been a month since I last posted but I have thought of you all everyday and have tried to keep the Facebook page updated regularly.

Before I get into giving you guys a run down of what has been keeping me so busy I want to honor one of the most influential women in my life. While the 4th of July is famous for Independence Day in America, for my family it is our gorgeous Nan's birthday!! The highlights of my childhood where holidays at Nan and Pops house and I was allowed to hangout in the sewing room, going through biscuit tins of ribbons, bottles of buttons and cupboards of fabric!! The memory I will forever treasure was when Nan set up the old silver metal Singer machine and I shared the sewing table with my idol for the first time. 

I still talk to my Nan every week, sometimes more, and even though she no longer sews or bakes due to her health, we can chat for hours about my projects, her ideas and suggestions to help me improve something, her secrets to scone making and her total honesty with love policy always leaves me feeling completely bathed in that special grandmother love and ready to tackle whatever may come. (Even scones!) 

My Nan @ Stitched to Life
This is my Nan as a teenager -
Happy Birthday Nanny!!

I'm not going to tell everything about the last few weeks however I am going to give highlights and save some of other projects for later blogs and then hopefully I will never have such a big break from you again!!

Barcaldine Sewing Retreat

Early last month my local quilting store held a two day sewing retreat and I was super spoilt because the "Owls" came over from Emerald, causing me to almost burst with excitement at the thought of spending time with people I love while doing something I love!!

Barcaldine Quilting Retreat
Jules and her concentrating face!

Barcaldine Quilting Retreat
Wendy and her "dirty" fabric!

Barcaldine Quilting Retreat
Here is the owner of my local  The Silver Thimble,
Sandy Grey (Green) who shared her vast
 knowledge with us all weekend!
Most of us worked on a raw-edge applique table runner and I am always amazed by how the creative mind works!! The simple idea Sandy gave us as a base turned out some beautiful work with every piece showcasing each persons individual tastes!

Barcaldine Quilting Retreat
Wendy's Shabby Chic Runner

Barcaldine Quilting Retreat
Dallas's scrappy brights

Barcaldine Quilting Retreat
Julie's First Attempt at free-motion -skilled!!

Black and White Freemotion Quilting
This was my version that I made using scraps from my Mum's first quilt -
she loves it and it will be going in the motorhome!! 
Black and White Freemotion Quilting

Black and White Freemotion Quilting
Black and White Freemotion Quilting
It was so much fun to be doing some free-motion again!!
To top off the weekend Mrs Twisted Stitcher - Dallas had a very special birthday on Saturday so I decided to make her a cake she would always remember. (If you are easily offended please skip past the next photos :-)

Saggy boob cake @ Stitched to Lif

Saggy boob cake @ Stitched to Lif

Saggy boob cake @ Stitched to Lif

I bought the cake base from the bakery (yeah, yeah, yeah) and then sliced and re layered brushing orange juice onto the cake, then spreading Rosewater and vanilla pudding icing continuing to build until I had the 'saggy' shape I was looking for. 

It really yummy and I have decided I will NEVER make icing any other way again!!

After a very tearful goodbye, which continued into the next day, caused by lack of sleep and very bad (but so delicious) eating habits over the weekend, Mr B was very understanding and made me a cuppa then sent me to bed for an immediate catch up rest - I actually think in true husband style he had no idea what to do with his weeping emotional wife so tea and sleep meant I left him alone and he looked caring!! Bless him :-)

Coffee creams @ Stitched to Life
Have to show you these Coffee Creams!! They are made by the beautiful Wendy and are on my same deliciousness level as Macaroons, which if you know my obsession for them is BIG!!
They are so crumbly, true flavored with a filling that is just moist enough in the mouth -
I think I'm in love!!

Parties and Discos!!

Master 6 and Miss 4 have had a very busy social life of late and we have attended some birthday parties and had a great night at the dress up school disco!!

Miss 4 finally got to wear her gorgeous new smocked dress made by Evelyn and was quite happy to put on a show for the camera - that was until we arrived and she saw the lollies - then I was officially forgotten about until I required to hold something or she needed a toilet!!
Smocking @ Stitched to Life
Smocking @ Stitched to Life

A bonus for me was I also had a chance to wear a multi-style maxi dress made out of a fabulous pink stretch which I put together when I first moved here - which I love and was soooo comfy!! 

The original pattern for this dress can from Sharon Sews through She Can Sew, if you love it just click on Sharon's link!

I am definitely going to make another one in a shorter length for Summer, can't wait to get my white legs out in the sun!! (Ohhh just remembered that means I had better shave them first!!)
Maxi @ Stitched to Life
Maxi @ Stitched to Life
The ties where sewn into the back seam, they can be styled into different ways to create new looks!
The kids school held a dress-up disco where the theme was what to you want to be when you grow up!! 
With no prizes for guessing we ended up with a Rock Star and a Ballerina Princess!!
Dress ups @ Stitched to Life
Mother Bragging moment,
Jack won best dressed in his age!!

I have been working on so much more in and out of the sewing room including hand sewing, crochet, designing and shabby chic recycling but I am saving some goodies to share with you later!! 

The kitchen has been a little neglected with Mr B being away for three weeks but the kids and I have been trying a few new things, with a bit more tinkering I hope to post them up soon too!!

Until next time

May your bobbin always be full


Monday, 3 June 2013

Fast and Furious!!


It's crazy here but I am missing you all very much and before I run off to school and groceries I wanted to let everyone know I have created Stitched to Life's very own Facebook page!!

I will be using the page to touch base with everyone in between blog posts, offer giveaways, ask questions about you and generally I just love Facebook! The page has already had 92 likes and I'm thinking I might have to offer a prize for the 100th liker, thoughts??

I have had painters working tirelessly in and out of the house for the last two weeks, hopefully to finish up this week!! I am desperately trying not to freak out about stuff everywhere but with my submission due at the end of the month, the Barcaldine retreat this weekend, cooking for school/retreat and Mr B going away for two weeks this month - a freak out is not only possible but highly probable!!

I have been thinking of you all daily while creating some delicious meals including my first batch of scones!! All the photos and stories to come as soon as I can find a space to work in the house, considering I am typing this from Master 6's room on his little white school desk!

The undercoat fumes are coming in so Miss 4 and I are off for the day, I am leaving you with this picture and quote which I adore and feel is very appropriate for the next coming weeks!!

May your bobbin always be full


Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Food and Fabric!!

I have returned to finish telling you about my wonderful weekend with the "Night Owls" out at the Fairburn Dam!!

Saturday afternoon found us all fighting food comas due to the constant consumption of food worthy of Donna Hay magazine, however we are strong women and found the will to soldier on to dinner!!

In the afternoon Wendy put a loaf of garlic Sourdough in the bread-maker, which emitted an aroma that had you floating to the kitchen on a wave of euphoria, only to stand at the machine sniffing like a bloodhound on the trail!!

Garlic Sourdough

Wendy also had baking a traditional Moussaka, with moist layers of rich mince and melt-in-your mouth eggplant, under a gooey hat of homemade Bechamel sauce and golden cheese!! 


These delights where served with Evelyn's perfectly al-dente pasta salad, with a beautiful balance of sauce, pasta and fillings; as well as my Roast Pumpkin and Pine nut Salad with my favorite roasted pine nuts and ricotta crumbled lover the top!!

Roast Pumpkin and Pine nut Salad
Amazing meal made better when shared
with amazing company!
Our sweet tooth's were not forgotten when we later enjoyed my very first ever baked cheesecake!! Of course I couldn't just choose to do a nice easy vanilla bean or some other version of, I choose to attempt not only a baked multiple steps Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake!! 

I follow an amazing blog called The girl who ate everything and it is really fabulous not only the food she makes but she does it around her busy family. Did I mention that this blog is American?? Hence the beginning of my issues with this cake. Dum, dum, dum!!

When cooking from American recipes the first step is translating the measurements into the corresponding Australian one, all good, or so I thought. The base no worries, I made do with some plain shortbread biscuits, and the cookie dough balls, delicious to the point of eating so much of it straight out of the bowl I think I may have put myself at risk of having an immediate coronary!!

The filling......hummmm, well thinking I was super organised, I mixed the filling according to the directions, at some point I thought, "Gee that looks very runny and it has a strong egg taste. Is that right?" Re-reading, yes I was fine, into the base and then the oven for an hour. Sitting down to check the recipe, yet again (Not that I could do anything now it was in the oven), "Oh S*#T!!" I didn't translate the cream cheese!!! A recipe I believed to only require 1 packet of cream cheese, actually requires 3.5 packets, meaning I then spend the next hour sitting on floor in front of my oven praying for this cake to please be edible!!

An hour later it had risen around the sides and was browning nicely, however it was custard in the middle. Emergency call to experienced Foodie friend which went along the lines of, "Help Me!" She assured me that the eggs should help it set, just turn the oven down and double the bake time.

Needless to say while I'm not proud of this effort I am determined to try this again just for the cookie dough balls themselves!!

My poor cookie dough balls all sank, never fear,
 I am not one to run away from a sweet challenge!!
All this energy consumption was going to require some form of burn off and after a few (many) glasses of wine, some good music and relaxed company meant that some super smooth versions of Flash dance and line dancing, (What a combination!) where soon being busted across the sewing room floor!

On the last day of any retreat I always wake up a little sad because you know the fun is coming to an end. This retreat I think everyone felt the same as we all seemed really upbeat but eventually Wendy quietly said over her coffee cup, "I don't want to go home today." This set off a big run of group hugs and cuddles around the table, then we all remember we would be seeing each other at the next retreat in three weeks and we still had a whole day of sewing and eating ahead!!

Everyone seems to get this buzz of motivation on the last day, I think we all realize that we are running out of time without life distractions and we had better pull our fingers out so we have something to show our husbands for two days away!

These are some of the projects the girls where working on over the weekend.

Angel Crosstitch
Evelyn's Angel Cross-stitch

English Paper Piecing Hexagons
Some of Wendy's hexagon
flowers for her quilt

Black and Red Stitchery
One of Julie's stitchery blocks
for her quilt
On Saturday night the fire was lit up again and the girls put some wrapped potatoes in the coals for lunch the next day, however over the course of the night they ended up being left to their own devices, with the results to be determined the next day. 

Julie delivered the potatoes (which ended up being perfectly soft and moist - don't ask me how!) cut and filled with left over Moussaka and melted Edam cheese, with a fresh side of Orange and Beetroot Chopped Salad, yum!

Fire cooked potatoes
They where so good, the flavour of the fire went
through the potato and gave it a delicious smoky undertone!

Despite the massive food fest we all did manage to get through some UFO's!

Jelly Roll quilt
Betty's Quilt from last
years retreat!
Foundation piecing star
Dallas completed a full block
of foundation piecing

Circle quilt with Wedge ruler
My Christmas Tablecloth using the Wedge ruler!
I am going to foundation piece a center circle!!

Table runner with wedge ruler
A table runner using
the leftover wedges!

The final meal of the day is a unanimous favorite with the Night Owls, which is a selection of antipasto delights such as dukkah, balsamic vinegar, grilled capsicums, fresh breads and of course cheeses!!

So with a flurry of brooms, cloths and the complete organisation that I find more mature women have (notice I wasn't brave enough to say older women?) we where quickly tidied, packed and saying our goodbyes, which while sad, it was good to know I would be seeing some of them again soon for the next retreat.

I love these weekends because while returning home absolutely shattered physically, I also feel totally invigorated and full of inspiration to move onto the next project, whatever that may be!! 

A very special present was given to Miss 4 this weekend which was made by a super talented Night Owl Evelyn. Evelyn is in possession of a very special skill that is rarely seen or appreciated in it's true form any more - smocking. 

Smocked Dress
How stunning is this!!
Smocked Dress
Look at the work and the detail!!
Upon seeing this creation it took some smooth talking from Evelyn to convince Miss 4 that she should leave her clothes on because she couldn't wear it yet!!

The dress is hanging in pride of place at the end of Miss 4's bed and is adoringly patted each night - photos of Miss 4 in model mode coming soon!!

On Monday I took the opportunity while in Emerald to follow the girls advice (and my stomach) to find the perfect macaroon!

If you don't know, these decadent little portions of sweet, frilly, feeted heaven are my Achilles heel when it comes to cooking - I just can't make them and because of my absolute adoration of them I am refusing to attempt them anymore.

My love for these creations knows no bounds and I will without hesitation pass any and all other desserts in favor of these caps of crisp, chewy, luscious delights!!

Anyway (wiping the drool from my keyboard) I was told by good sources that a  local Emerald business - Highland Homewares not only stocked my little dreams but they where made fresh and served with real ground coffee by a true Barista!! 

The business has just moved into it's new larger location, and when I lived in Emerald while I enjoyed the store I never managed to get there often, so when I entered I had no expectations or idea of what I was getting myself into!!

I'm not one to be speechless often but when I rolled back the door and stepped in, that's where I stayed for a good minute! I was floored by the stunning displays, aromas, colors and textures that called at me, I had no idea where to go first, well.... yeah I did, macaroons!!

Highland Homewares
The front entrance!

Highland Homewares
If it's on Masterchef you
can get it here!!

Walking towards the coffee shop, my only thought was, "Get the macaroons. Then you can look!" I swear I heard a herald of angels singing as I came to a complete stop in front of a case filled by a rainbow!!

Highland Homewares
A rainbow behind glass!!
There was positively no possible way I was going to be able to choose one delight over the other, therefore my only option was to take one of each!! Literally skipping on the spot like a child, I explained to the staff my love for macaroons and while they seemed excited for me, I'm still not sure if they where laughing AT me or WITH me!

Highland Homewares
Passionfruit (yellow), Cherry Ripe (Red), Jaffa (Orange), Redskin (Purple),
 Salted Caramel (Blue), Chocolate (Brown), Vanilla (White), Mystery Flavor (Tan).

Highland Homewares
I fell in love with the teacup and it came home with me too,
along with some Lemonade Fruit Melange Tea!!
While I was beside myself with delight Mr B however did question the validity of buying $30 worth of macaroons, I told him if he had to ask for a reason he just would never understand!

For the next four hours I cradled my treasures on my lap in the car, due to my serious fear of them being maimed in any way by a child's ungentle foot or husbands unthinking hands.

Mr B kept sneaking me side looks and shaking his head but my caring devotion paid off when we arrived at Ground Zero with all frilly feat in tact!! (I would like to add that I do think I crossed into bad mother territory when I took the macaroons into the house before the children!!) 

Over the next two days I set aside private moments to truly appreciate each individual flavour and decided on Jaffa, Cherry Ripe, Redskin and Salted Caramel to be my "Buy again" friends. (If Mr B ever lets me return to Emerald!)

Another massive post but so much has happened and the best part is sharing it with you all!!

Until next post - which I have already started a list for!

May your bobbing always be full


Sunday, 26 May 2013

Food Glorious Food!!

Well, I'm back from a fabulous weekend and finally have time to sit so I can tell you all about it!!

Firstly however before I delve into two days worth of incredible food, friends and fabric I would like to announce the creation of Stitched to Life's official logo, in two variations!! Be prepared to see these everywhere on absolutely everything, I love them that much!

I must take this opportunity to thank the amazing designer, Maria at Style Graphic Design. She has incredible unending patience and an unbelievable talent for understanding the scattered ideas of people like myself and turning them into beautiful graphics for all creative types of business. If you are ever in need of designs of any kind please go and have a look at her Etsy shop  link above!! 

I have just spent the past weekend at Fairburn Dam at a retreat with a group of the most special women I have the immense honor to call my friends. They call themselves, 'The Night Owls' (originally named 'The Friday Night Girls' however we all decided that it made us sound like hookers so we better come up with something else!)

I arrived Friday afternoon to a stunning venue, situated on the hill our dorm rooms are clean and tidy, with enough for one room each and two upstairs bathrooms - very important when living with a group of women! The kitchen and dining building is where we set up to sew and eat, it has a lovely comfortable home atmosphere but I think that had more to do with the company!

The view from both buildings looks down onto a paved campfire circle, surrounded by seating and bush-land filled with wildlife that is so comfortable with humans they will come right up to the veranda doors to see what's for lunch! Speaking of bold wildlife this little Magpie came right up to me while I photographing some of our work on the Sunday afternoon!

Magpie @ Fairburn Dam
He was so close and
extremely nosy!
Magpie @ Fairburn Dam
Cheeky little bugger even
 posed for his photos!

After all the hugs, kisses and unpacking we quickly realized that when you ask six major foodies to gather together for two days, that creates ALOT of food and of course it's all going to be good!!

Food @ Fairburn Dam
This is only a small amount of the sweets!

Food @ Fairburn Dam
Main fridge with a separate one for wine!

Friday night we enjoyed a delicious Chicken curry with fluffy rice (Julie's recipe), followed by Dallas's mini Sticky Date puddings with Butterscotch sauce and Cream (I'm getting the sauce recipe because I could drink that stuff - I even put it on my muesli the next morning!)

Sticky Date Pudding
These had gorgeous chunks of ginger through the
 soft spongy pudding, giving it a stunning spicy kick!

That night a chill came through causing our little firebugs to not be able to help themselves and they had to light the campfire - I must admit it was beautiful and warm!

Camp fire

A reasonably early night (with an early morning for me due to inspiration striking and I had to get it on the computer before I lost it!), saw us all rise to a very cold morning with everyone being extremely glad to have packed extra blankets, quilts and jumpers!! 

Julie made our breakfast for the weekend which was a devine Bircher Muesli with Pan Fried Apples in a Maple Butter sauce and side of Natural Greek Yogurt  I am booking this as my birthday breakfast!! 

Once fed, coffeed and showered we all pulled out what we where actually there to do which was our UFO's!!

Fairburn dam retreat
The room of creativity!
Also doubles as a dance floor but that story is for later...

At some point through the Saturday we decided that sewing was only something to fill in the time before we could eat again, because we where always either eating food, reading about food or talking about food!!

Morning and afternoon teas saw us sampling Wendy's buttery, crumbly Coffee Creams, Pecan shortbread's and Delonghi coffee (I have decided this will be my next purchase - chooks be damned!) There was also my Chewy Pistachio and Almond Slice, Honey and Spice Slice and White Choc, Pineapple and Coconut Slice. Plus more slices, cakes, brownies, dips, crackers and the ever present cheese which is inevitable at every Night Owl gathering!

Chewy Pistachio and Almond Slice
Chewy Pistachio and Almond Slice

White chocolate, Pineapple and Coconut Slice
White Chocolate, Pineapple and Coconut Slice

The day turned out to be super productive with me completing a fabric basket for my dining room table, learning how to foundation piece, thanks to Dallas and Craftsy, laughing until my sides hurt and going through the girls stash of fabric and goodies. I have also come to understand that Dirty Old Women don't just suddenly become Dirty Old Women - it takes years of practice and dedication, guess what?? I'm well on my way!!

Foundation Piecing
Foundation Piecing by Dallas - Unfinished quarter block

Big pile of scraps for hexies and piecing!

Fabric Basket
My finished Mini Charm Basket!
Noteworthy Fabric by Moda

I will continue the story of this epic weekend hopefully this afternoon however right now I am off to a pink birthday party with Miss 4, who is not so patiently waiting at my side.

Next: Dinner and dancing!!

May your bobbin always be full