The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

The Christmas Challenge. Grub roses.

My Christmas Challenge has been going along well and I have been still working on crochet edgings.  I started a big bottle of Vanilla Extract this week which will end up in little bottles and part of some of my kitchen/foodie gifts.

I am trying to post early today as we are expecting a big storm. Now the weather report isn't famous for accuracy. But if it is what they say it is we probably won't have power later on!

Quite a few of us have been working on crochet edgings and I am pretty thrilled that there are some of you giving these a go and learning them as they are so useful and fun to do!  The beauty of them is you can take something inexpensive and personalise it and make it special all fro very little money!

The other thing I have found so useful is knowing how to do Grub Roses. I have had several requests to do some sort of tutorial on these.  And I am working on it! This should be interesting as it is all tiny and close up photos! But I am doing my best so that is coming very shortly!

In the meantime  I am going to hopefully encourage anyone who doesn't embroider to give it a try! It is so lovely to do. Plus small and portable. I can't take my sewing machine on holidays or to the waiting room at the Doctors but I can take my hand sewing! The same with working in the evenings... small things you can do anywhere!

This is another thing that is surprisingly easy when you know how! Also I am focusing on roses but this stitch can be made into bees, bunnies and other creatures... and thing like little trains which are suitable for boys. I might get on to that later. Basically this stitch will help you with a lot of things.

Today I am just going to hopefully give some ideas of what you could do with Grub Roses.

I have worked a lot on baby clothes. I tend to add one rose in the middle of the neckline of little t shirts, under garments, one on the outset side of a baby sock or in the middle of a back pocket.
You do not need a lot. They are like a little kiss!
They look so sweet. In this way you can buy a ready made garment and just add a touch of embroidery and it is a lovely gift. Or make the whole garment of course if you want.

Currently I have been working the crochet edgings on face washers, hand towels and bath mats.
On a face washer or bath mat I will just work on rose in one corner. That is enough and looks right.

On a hand towel or bath towel I will work a little line of flowers on one end and centre them so that when the towel is hanging up it shows nicely.

I have worked a lot of baby sheets and wraps and the edge of pillowcases. 

You can make little clusters and fill in the gaps with simple french knots.

Using wool instead of cotton you can work these and other roses on wool fabric so then you have things like rugs, water bottle covers, children coats etc.

I made my Nanna a pink rug like this one Christmas. It had rose sprays in each corner and a wreath in the middle. She really liked it!

There are just so many applications. I hope I am convincing you how useful they are!

I have worked quite a lot of cushions and pillow covers.  You become kind of addicted lol and this led me to ribbon embroidery which I might also add some tutorials on sometime soon.

I cannot tell you how much fun it is! The basics really do get you started and take you a long way.

Babies in the family really do give you extra chances to use your embroidery but all of us would probably love touches of ribbons and roses on night gowns, linen etc.

Now we are at the end of the month! You know what that means! Its time for Show and Tell! I already have some great photos that have come in!
We would love to see what you have made or what you are working on!  These posts have given us all heaps of ideas and inspiration.
You can post on the Bluebirds Facebook page or email me at

Do you embroider or would you like to give it a try?

I hope you are having a wonderful week! To the South Australians stay inside and stay safe!xxx


  1. I can't wait to see your tutorial, Annabel!

    Stay safe in your storm!

    1. Dear Jenn, Thanks! (on both counts) Hope your week is going well! With love

  2. Hi Annabel, I have admired your roses. They are so pretty. I have not embroidered very much so think after we get settled the end of the year I had better stick to trying the crochet edge! Maybe some day I can try the roses. Need to develop so many skills! So many fun things to do! Never enough time! Thanks for sharing! Nancy

    1. Dear Nancy, Thank you! You will be up and running with your edgings soon if not already! It is true that there are so many lovely things to learn and its so much fun. Not enough hours in the day or days in the year! Much love

  3. Dear Annabel. Now, these are just divine! I love grub roses and French knots are a special favourite. I love that with imagination, you can turn any ordinary item into a work of art and something that is suddenly an heirloom. Look at your blankets for example! Another idea is to make an old fashioned sampler, with rows of various stitches in pastel or contrasting colours. These are now highly collectible and sell for hundreds on eBay in good condition! So not only are you learning a skill that can beautify so many items, but you're also contributing to maintaining a dying art, which is so very important nowadays. As you know, I've been honing my embroidery skills on my Inchies, and I'm nearly ready to attempt something more adventurous. I think the main thing is, that no matter how humble, or lovely your efforts, somebody will appreciate the time and love that has gone into them. A gorgeous post! Love, Mimi xxx

    1. Dear Mimi,
      I also love that humble things can become gorgeous things! Its like baking when you start with flour and eggs etc and can end up with so many divine things or sewing etc it is our efforts that turn them into something. I am sure we were meant to use our hands to create and we are much happier for it.
      A sampler of stitches is a really good idea especially to get new embroiderers going!
      Hope you are having a good week! With love

    2. Mimi, it's funny you should mention the stitch sampler. One of my friends is tearing her house apart looking for the one she made in Home Ec when she was about 12. Sh just 're-did her sewing room and wants to frame it.

  4. I have never crocheted a border, but you have inspired me to try. It'll be on my winter bucket list. My mom was an amazing crocheter so rather than learn, I'd let her do the trims after I finished embroidering something.

    1. Dear Debby,
      I think you will truly enjoy it. I can work on crochet in the car and in bad light and work on embroidery in the good light and at home if I have time in the day. It is much easier than you probably think and if you can do double crochet thats all you really need! Good luck! With love

    2. I CAN double crochet!! Woo Hoo!!!

  5. Annabel stay safe during the storm. I have just read the storm being described as a cyclone. I know you are too far south for this but the report is calling the weather pattern a cyclonic pattern. Having lived through a couple, I know how terrifying these storms can be. You are going to be glad for your well stocked pantry and preparedness,
    I use embroidery to enhance my appliques on household items. Right now I'm working on some Christmas ladies on hot pads(fabric trivets). I'm hoping to finish these for this months Show and Tell. Embroidery like you do Annabel is well beyond my ability. Your work is so pretty and so refined.
    Stay safe.

  6. Annabel I used to do ribbon and wool embroidery years ago. You might start up a trend once again :-) I heard the weather forecast for you around Adelaide so I hope you stay safe and don't lose power. The wind will be very strong by the sounds of it.

  7. wow those embroideries are stunning. i love them. migraine today and feeling blah but realised it was Wednesday so time to check in. my old gp I used to see I reckon I should have taken my actual sewing machine in, I had to wait that long, but yes, these portable crafts are fantastic. i did some crochet edging yesterday Annabel and it's looking (so far) better than the last attempts. Fi xx ps. how is Lucy? my migraine today and last night made me think of her.

    1. Fiona,
      I hope your migraine doesn't last long and you feel better quickly!

  8. Hi Annabel,
    I read the weather report this morning about extreme high winds for SA. Hope the BoM have it wrong.
    The grub roses are gorgeous and really add a luxury, boutique look to the items.
    End of the month! Yikes! So soon.
    Stay safe,

  9. I started to trim a couple of dish towels and they just don't look the same as yours. I can't wait for the tutorial (I obviously need it)! Your embroidery is very pretty.

  10. Dear Annabel, your embroidery is just beautiful!I love the idea of doing it not sure about the reality but I do find I enjoy hand stitching in the evening rather than use the sewing machine.I use to love spending Saturday evenings with my Nan helping her embroider afternoon tea cloths or table cloths, I cannot remember which. I just have lovely memories of the two of us doing it and the pretty coloured threads we used.I was around 11 years old .
    Okay , now back to topic, At last my grandaughters rug is sewn together and ends tidy, and Im half way around the edging, hooray! Thought Id never get to this point.
    Hopefully will have a photo for the next show and tell.
    Hope you still have power, I haven't been watching the weather reports .Take care, love Maria xxx

  11. Dear Annabel,
    I am praying that this post finds you, your family and others in your area safe. We heard about the storm here in the U.S. while watching the nightly news on TV.

    I so admire all of the beautiful things that you create and have learned so much from your tutorials, recipes, etc. I am really looking forward to learning how to make the grub roses. My mother embroidered beautifully and I have many table lines that she did. One, which is a beautiful linen banquet cloth that has stains on it I'm still trying to figure out where to cut it so as to make other things out of it.

    The coconut ice that you described and showed pictures of earlier this week looked so delicious that I looked up the recipe. It will definitely be made this year for our Christmas celebration and for gift giving. My husband asked if I would make a small batch of it now just to try as we have all of the ingredients in our storage. He loves sweets. And now that the weather has cooled off here and we're expecting rain through the weekend, a meat pie is on the menu for dinner one night. Love Cookie

  12. Hi Annabel!

    If things get too cyclonic, will you bunker down in your cellar? May the Eternal be your safety, your Rock - for you and your family.

    Have you done ALL that embroidery?!! It's all so soft and beautiful! I would say you look back on it with appreciation. That's a sign of a job well done!

    In my childhood, Mum taught me some embroidery - stem stitch, lazy daisy stitch and French knots (which can also hold sequins in place). Right now, my embroidery project is stitching the Song of Moses of Deuteronomy chapter thirty-two. It is a way of, hopefully, preserving it, and having it in our home, since it is that important. It will take a while. The first portion is done. Lately, just doing a little now and then, I have found a renewed joy in this stitching project, particularly with more sunlight! I reckon I'd like to keep stitching even after this is complete! It is for myself and our home. It describes the story of our people, and is, itself, embroidered with justice, faithfulness, beauty and rescue! If I stitch it, will you all read it?!! I hope so!!

    With warm regards to all!
    Rachel Holt

  13. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!!

  14. Everything is so beautiful!! To say the least.
    I want to add, prayers are being said for all in Sothern Australia. Stay safe.

  15. Dear Annabel,
    Your roses are beautiful. Everything you make shouts care and love.
    Years ago, I did a lot of Crewel Embroidery and embroidery on Crazy Quilts. Embroidery is only limited by a person's imagination, as there are so many wonderful stitches and beautiful things that can be embellished by it.
    I have three large framed pictures I did in Crewel Embroidery, about 30 years ago. I am about to embark on another Crazy Quilt project for myself, simply to practice the stitches once again, before moving on for gifts for others.
    I have been practicing knitting, once again, as it's been 45 years since I did any knitting. When living in Europe, I did quite a lot of knitting daily, but then we moved back to the states and I stopped when our children came along. I, then, switched back to sewing as it was quick and easier for children's clothing. Plus, I did a lot of hand piecing and quilting back then, as you mentioned, whenever sitting and waiting at offices.
    Your posts are always inspirational, encouraging, and your work is gorgeous.
    Love and hugs,

  16. Thank you everyone! I can't attempt to do my normal replies. This storm turned into a mass power outage and our entire state has had no power. People stuck in lifts, phones down, hospitals run by torch light anda general mess.
    We have just had power restored but not sure for how long. It is midnight now. Tomorrow is meant to be as bad.
    This has been like one of Patsy's preparedness scenarios! I can say today we learned a lot and got to test our preparedness and use our generator. We have had some successes and some failures! Lessons learned!
    You'll be glad to know at one stage when it was still light outside I just sat and did grub roses and took photos of the steps. So that was something!
    We are fine and it is eerily calm now but apparently its about to become the next phase which is wind and hail.
    Thank you for all the lovely comments and asking after us! xxx

  17. Annabel, I hope everyone is safe. Didn't realize you were having a bad storm till now. Nancy

  18. Annabel,
    I love your grub roses and everything looks so pretty. The results are always stunning! I hope your storms don't last long and create too much damage the cleanup after the storms can be massive. I may give these grub roses a go myself as I like them so much thanks for the inspiration!

    I will be reading it!

  19. I'm so glad your safe and secure! Hopefully your power will be back on soon and there won't be too much damage. Prayers!

  20. Oh Annabel, those roses are just lovely! I can't knit, crochet or sew but they are all on my 'to learn' list.
    I have been reading that the weather in SA should improve tomorrow. Stay safe today!

  21. Annabel,
    I am praying for safety for all in the south of our country.
    You work is so lovely. I am looking forward to the lessons.
    It is a good feeling to be prepared.

  22. Dear Annabel, Glad to hear you made it safely through the storm, where we are in the Central West of NSW the storm cells are heading our way and a lot of part of this area are already under water. Can't wait for the grub roses tutorial in the mean time I have been adding crochet edging to tea towels and have crochet around 1 bathmat.
    Keep Safe. Jo

  23. I'm sending my thoughts your way. The SA govt have some lessons to learn from this. Hope you all remain safe and ok. How amazing that you got to test exactly what you've been preparing for this last year or so. I bet you feel not only justified but proud as well. Xx Fi

  24. I've been thinking about you and i hope you are all ok in SA. I couldn't believe it when we heard about it on the news. I instantly thanked God for your preparedness. You were so clever to have things ready.
    Your embroidery is magnificent. It is seriously beautiful! Anyone would be just thrilled to bits to receive your beautiful pieces. They should be framed!
    Lots of love to you (and I hope you are all safe), Bridge

  25. Dear Annabel

    I do hope you are safe and well and have suffered no major damage. You are all in my thoughts.

    Take Care

    Aly xxx

  26. Annabel, So glad you were prepared, just think how much worse this would have been for you had you not been! I am looking forward to your tutorial on the grub roses. Your work is absolutely beautiful! Stay safe! Patsi @ a working pantry

  27. Dear Annabel,

    I hope the wind and hail didn't amount to much where you are!!! Your embroidery is just about heirloom quality! We have our first frost advisory for tonight, so we will be collecting anything that can't make it thru a frost today. At least the carrots and parsnips will be sweeter!

    xx Jen in NS

  28. Such lovely embroidery! Thank you for the ideas. I was just given some fleece. It will make up into some lovely lap throws (rugs) with embroidered details.
    Sorry to hear about your storm. Thankful the Lord protected you and your family.
    Leslie (now in Ohio, USA)


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