Monday, December 19, 2016

"What can I give Him?"

“What can I give Him,

Poor as I am?

If I were a shepherd,

I would give Him a lamb,

If I were a wise man,

I would do my part.

Yet what can I give Him?

Give my heart."
                                         Christina Rossetti

I found this very old, gorgeous print in a dark little corner of an op shop. It is tattered and has seen better days but the children peering through the window, looking at the nativity scene spoke to my heart. It is titled "What can I give Him" referencing the beautiful Christmas poem by Christina Rossetti. The painting was painted by the Canadian artist J.M. Barnsley (1861-1929). I love the olde world feel of this lovely print. I love the simplicity of this says it all really. Jesus wants nothing from me but my heart; to love Him and follow Him.

I of course embellished in my signature style by adding a dash of lace and a sprinkling of Christmas decorations.......just to add a little Christmas sparkle, a little Christmas shimmer. =)

My good husband and I are off on a jet plane to warmer climes to celebrate Christmas with our daughter and son-in-law, so I will be AWOL for a week or so. I will return......that is of course if I don't dissolve into a puddle of melted corpuscles!! The jet plane's destination, I've been told is the land of heat, heat and then some!! In saying this, I am going to do my darndest to soak up as much sunshine as I possibly can  (it is freezing down here at the bottom of the world at the moment).

May each one of you lovely ladies have a most joyous Christmas. May your Christmas shimmer and sparkle as you make many new and precious memories, as you gather around your family and loved ones and celebrate. May there be moments of quiet reflection when you ponder the Christmas story and all the beauty therein.  Perhaps.....may you even ponder what you can give Him??

Before I board that jet plane, let me thank you all for visiting my place throughout the year; taking the time to read my posts and an even bigger thank you for always taking the time to pen such beautiful comments. I am so very thankful for each one of you. Indeed you are all treasures, always making my heart smile.

Until the next time...........

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The House that Holly Stitched

This is a story about a wall hanging one of my sewing girls, Holly, stitched with oodles of love, for her mum. This story has a most moving significance which neither Holly nor I could  ever have foreseen when we first talked about this project...........but we will come to that later on.

Let us start at the beginning, shall we.

The wall hanging was started earlier this year with the intention of Holly giving it to her mum for Mother's Day. But for one reason or another, "The Kim Sharman School of Stitching Excellence" has only been open intermittently throughout the year.

I was visiting Holly's mum (a very dear friend of mine) in late January of this year and I noticed the advent wall hanging that Holly made a couple of years ago still taking pride of place on the wall. Yes indeedy, Holly's mum is one who seems to have evidence of yuletide still hanging well into the year. Deary, deary me!! How could this be?? Now, I am one of those gals whom when the 1st of January hoopla, moseys along blowing party whistles and chorusing in celebration......HAPPY  NEW  YEAR........the Christmas decorations come down and stay hidden until the following December.

This rather woebegone situation had to be remedied, so Holly and I came up with a brilliant idea (well we thought it was) of replacing the advent calendar with a wall hanging of  monumental significance. We decided how cool it would be to stitch a house, with memories of her family mingled throughout. Holly's mum has one serious photo collection capturing the everyday moments of growing children, those important milestones and family celebrations over the years. Yes indeedy, she is a bit of a shutterbug!!

With the hunting and gathering of  a selection of fabrics the designing of the 'House that Holly stitched' began. We decided to transfer photos of the family to fabric, using photo transfer paper.

Holly's house wall hanging is a house filled with delightful and whimsical details. From the shuttered windows that when opened to let the sunshine filter in, reveal special photos of members of her family. There are wild flowers growing in the garden which gently brush Holly and her brother James as they amble along the front path leading to the welcoming front door; which upon opening reveals her mum and dad on their wedding day.

Oh how happy and in love Holly's mum and dad look. They are beaming aren't they.

There are window boxes where pretty flowers cascade every which way and climbing roses escaping from pretty pots, trailing in wild abandon up the wall. You see this is a house where not only the blossoms bloom but it is a house where love grows.

Each window  is filled with special memories of family celebrations.......of family love.

Holly's dad and mum, when she and her brother James were teeny babies.

There is a cute, lace trimmed, attic window and the prettiest of roof tiles. There has to, just has to be a li'l lace peeking from a house......somewhere, don't you think??

There are clothes lines where the washing sways in the gentle breeze, kissed by the sunshine.

There is Old Man Sun with his gentle smile of love and radiance, beaming rays of warm sunhine upon this house of love and an ancient tree where the little birdies rest awhile.

There is Holly's dad and her brother James driving the big, red truck when he was a little fellow. I love this photo; such a precious memory!

Even Holly's furry friend, Lottie loves to sit on the front porch amongst the roses. You see, Lottie, with that feline sixth sense of hers, knows this house is a house filled with love!

Each family member's name has been quilted in a doodling fashion on the wall hanging.

For many months Holly slowly and carefully stitched her house,stitch by stitch until finally last week, her beautiful, house wall hanging was finished.

What is the moving significance of Holly's house wall hanging?? You see, Holly is the daughter of my friend who passed away several weeks ago. When we talked about and designed this wall hanging, we could not have thought of the beautiful and poignant memories Holly's amazing wall hanging would evoke today.

Holly's beautiful wall hanging hangs with pride of place in her home. It is rather akin to a beautiful and touching benediction of the love this family has for each other. Holly has done the most splendid job in fashioning this lovely work of art. Indeed, "the house that Holly stitched" is one filled with a lifetime of treasured memories. It is a wall hanging which when gazed upon each day will bring to mind many, many lovely remembrances of special times spent with each member of the family. When gazed upon it will bring to mind the most beautiful memories of a most wonderful husband, dad and grandad.....for he was their world and they his.

May I say a lovely thank you to all you ladies who are thinking of and praying for my dear friend and her family. I know she is comforted by the thought that lovely ladies, such as you, from all over the globe have taken the time to think of her and her family at this time.

Until the next time..................

Saturday, December 3, 2016

One is never closer to God than in a garden

Thank you everyone for visiting my spring-filled place a little while ago and taking the time to leave such lovely comments. You always leave a smile in my heart.

The Lilacs have finished their flush of beautiful flowers, ever so gently making way for the other blossoms.

Spring is ever so slowly (nothing ever happens quickly here in Tassie) continuing the procession of floralicious delight, with each flower profusely blooming for a little while, then when finished, handing over the blossom baton to the next beautiful display. Cultivar after cultivar each showcasing their unique exquisiteness. Although the calendar reveals to me it is now the Summer month of December, Tassie hasn't looked at it's calendar of late. But that's okay, I am revelling in gorgeous bloom after gorgeous bloom. The most wonderful thing about a slow and deliberate warming up of the seasons here in Tassie, is we experience long and extended flowering seasons.

The beautiful Dutch Irises never fail to delight. The extravagance of that deep, purpley-blue colour is always a vision splendid.

Such a pretty outlook from the family room.

Azaleas abound!

The Clematis joyfully scrambling  over a rusty arch.

Aquilegias abound in our garden. Each year they drop seed whereupon the next year there always seems to be an explosion of these pretty granny bonnets.

Aah......the pretty Foxgloves. In my mind's eye I catch glimpses of tiny fairies peeking from within the tubular, little bells. I am quite certain Miss Maisie sees them!

The Rhododendrums, the Ixias.......

But.........then there are the Roses!! Now is the time for the Roses. The fragrance in the garden as each rose petal gently unfurls from it's bud is enchanting. The delicious scents of each different rose is truly exhilarative.

I cannot tell you how divine the heady scents of these roses are. They are truly intoxicating!! Each rose jostling to reveal the most ambrosial, scent-infused bouquet.

I have spent much time strolling in the garden these last weeks....and always my feet have led me to the pond. I have sat in my swing seat for many moments, contemplating the fragility of life. You see, a very dear friend of my husband and mine passed away suddenly a couple of weeks ago. It was a shock. He kissed his wife goodbye and set off with his teenage son to chop wood, experiencing a massive heart attack, never to return home to his lovely family again.

Our friend was a funny, loyal, honourable, honest and most marvellous man. There are not enough pages in a book to pen my thoughts on the eminent character of our friend. He was a much loved and respected member of this small community; whom will be sadly missed. His dependability, his keen intellect and clever mind, his organisational skills, his naughty sense of humour.............the attributes flow on and on.........will be irreplaceable. He adored his family and they adored him. Indeed, he was their world, and they his.

The pond is a place of refuge, a place which refreshes my soul. It is a paradise where the fish glide in the murmuring water surrounded by the blessings of nature. It is a place where I talk to my Heavenly Father. It is a place where He gently bends down to hear the whispers of my heart and comforts me. It is a place to..........just be. So, so many times, there is no other place I would rather be.

It is a place where I remember our dear friend. It is a place where I think upon the happy, memorable and fun times both my husband and I spent in the company of him. It is a place where my friend is never more than a thought away. It is a place where I pray for my friend's wife, who is also a very dear and much loved friend, and his four children and grandson. Their walk upon this new path will be a difficult one, filled with much heartache, without their wonderful husband, dad and grandad walking alongside them; missing him, wishing he was there with them. It will be a path filled with many moments of sadness, but maybe in time, there will again be happy strolls as they keep their precious  memories of their loved one ever so close to their hearts.

Indeed I find I am never closer to God than sitting in my swing seat, overlooking the pond, where every flower, every creature has been painted with the majestic brushstrokes of my Heavenly Father's paintbrush. If one looks closely, the intricate detail of each flower......of each wondrously complex. Some say there is no God.......incredible!!

Thank you for strolling along my garden path with me and resting awhile by the pond. If you think of it, please spare a thought, and if you are so inclined, a prayer for our friend's family over these coming days, months............indeed, they will need many a caring thought and hug during this unimaginable time of loss in their lives.

Until the next time..........