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June 2008
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July 2008

Trying times

Week three of the third term.  No time to do any of the things I love, I just have to keep my head down to keep up with my new teaching areas.  Then to add to this, I came home the other day and realised that someone had come onto my front verandah, right outside my bedroom windows, and stolen the crocheted rugs I had made.  Granted the rugs were made out of acrylic yarns and were not that glamorous but the were great to sit on and the cat used to curl up here to sleep. 

I just hope that the person who stole them was really cold and needed them.  I hope it was a street person and not some yuppy who wanted them for their home.  Good thing I had taken a photo of them before they disappeared!


Two weeks on

It has been a very difficult two weeks.  Having to teach subjects that I am not trained to teach is stressful.  Having to start all over again is stressful and not at all pleasant.  Some of the students aren't too pleasant either.  I had my white board markers stolen out of my pencil case and the attitude of some of the year 8 girls is terrible.  I hate to think what kind of adults they will become.

But on another note I have found a really interesting new fashion designer, Isabella Capeto .  Her designs are fresh and interesting and her web page is so attractive.  Takes a while to download some of the collections but well worth the wait, and, the original music is great.

As to music, I went and saw Mama Mia.  Not the best movie in the world but the music was good and I knew that words to all the songs.  That dates me.

Like being a first year teacher again.

Three days into the new term and I am really running fast to keep up.  I have three subjects that I have never taught before and I have to work hard just to stay in touch.  English, Math, Computing, well hopefully I will learn something myself as well.  It has been over 30 years since I left school and Math has changed a lot in that time.  I am struggling with some of the terms but this is a foundation class so I'm sure I will cope.

My English class concerns me most.  These are talented children in an extention class, and they get me.  They should have the best teachers. Experienced and subject trained.  Still, I can but try my best.  On a brighter note I do have one textiles class.  Year 8 beginner students.  Such excitement at getting to use a sewing machine.  I have 24 in the class, all 12 or 13 years old and not one has ever sewn on a sewing machine before.  Two of he boys told me that their grandmothers have a sewing machine, no one else in the class has seen or used one in their homes before.  Times have changed.

We went to see the "Friends of Picasso"  exhibition recently, (which is wonderful)  and I took a photo of this little one in  an outfit with great embroidery one it.  It looks quite ethnic, Scandinavian I wonder?


Last day before school

It is the last day before the holidays are over again and I return to a new school.  I have no idea what I will be teaching , so what an adventure is in store!!

The last few days have been taken up with sewing, I have been really carried away with the dress making.  A few tops, all of which presented challenges.  I have made a jacket for my daughter, or nearly made it.  It becomes really interesting when you have a very stretchy fabric for the main fabric and a woven for the lining.  Now I could have had a stretch fabric lining as well but I wanted to give the garment a form.  Now I have to decide what to do about a button to do it up.  When I experimented with the scraps I found that it worked but I think with constant use the stretch fabric will give way.  I think it will have to be press studs and fake buttons.

I took these pictures of old Queensland farm houses a few weeks ago.  The first is back to the bare bones, derelict, but it still holds it's spirit.

The second needs a coat of paint.  It looks lived in, used, it does it's job.


The third is lived in and loved, does it's job and prospers. 


Even the cabbages in the field next door seem to have a positive attitude.


The south west wind

The winter winds are blowing in from the snows and it is cold.  Not the cold that you get in Europe because the sun shines brightly and the Sky's are clear.  But that wind goes straight through your clothes and sets a chill in the house even with the heaters on.  The wrought iron around the verandah casts shadows as the sun shines from the north.


This doesn't stop the puppy bringing her trophies up a flight of 20 steps into the house.  A huge palm frond which she says is hers.


My son's partner, Inge, has just returned from taking a group of students to Japan and she came bearing the most exquisite gifts.  It's handy having someone in the family who speaks Japanese and can translate those craft instructions for me.

Our gifts included dangles for your phone or keys.  I intent to use them as scissor keepers.  The are the symbols of two of the cities that they visited, who's names I can't remember.


Also a little drawstring bag with a patchwork trim, fully lined.


This is used to hold your tooth picks which come in origami folded shirts.


Then there was a shibori napkin.


And a box of sugar sweets.  The paper they were wrapped in is a work of art in it's own right and a wonderful inspiration for an embroidery.


The sweets are made of icing sugar and I suspect a rice flour, I'm not sure what binds them but they crumble easily.  They came in a flat box and were either pink or white.


Each sweet was individually wrapped by hand, each one being given a little twist to the paper wrapping them.


And then when you opened them they each had been made by pressing into a flower mold.  The attention to detail is what makes these so special.


Wasting time.

Days just sort of slip by when you don't have the routine of work.  You get up and next thing you know it's lunch time.  That puppy is the worst time waster I have ever come upon.  I start sewing and next thing you see that tail disappear out the door and you know she has stolen something.  I have had to put all my cottons up on the wall because of her!

I Have finished a couple more tops, both of which drove me mad!  The pattern said it was for polar fleece.  The polar fleece must be very thin because the pattern was sooo big!  Flattering the find that I'm a small size by the time I had resized the pattern.

When we were out at Boonah the other weekend we stopped at a small pub in Dugandan for lunch.  There were a few people sitting on the verandah and the front bar only had a couple of patrons.


But, we walked into the dinning area and found the place was packed with families and groups.  This was timber country though most of that has been cleared for cattle farming and there are some crops.  And like all small towns the Honor Role of ANZACS who served in WW1.

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I liked the chandeliers.  Bundy and coke tins.  For those who don't know Bundy is a rum.  When I first went out west in Queensland I couldn't get over the amount of rum that was drunk, more than beer.  But when you think about it there was no refrigeration and the rum was distilled in all the sugar mills up the coast.  This little pub in on the edge of the hat town region and with the spread of the suburbs the old ways are being squeezed out.  I wonder if my kids realise what is about to disappear?


A wet cold day

It has been a wet cold day in Brisbane, so, like everyone else we went to the movies.  There was the usual scramble to find a parking spot, get a ticket, buy an ice cream (despite the cold) and find our seats.  We went to see Mongol which is part 1 of the life of Genghis Khan. 

I have had a fascination with China and the surrounding countries since I was about 12.  Back then it was hard to find any literature as there were no political links with a Marxist, Communist country.  So,  I used to read the history books and talk to old people who had lived in China.  White Russians, who had emigrated here or returned missionaries. I think that I have read everything there is about the life of Genghis Khan and the movie stays very close to the stories.  I loved it actually, despite the violence.  Of course the costumes and way of life was fascinating.

In the morning I finished sewing a new top but think that it needs small shoulder pads to make it sit on the body better.The fabric is a polyester knit, very soft and slippery.


I also completed  completed my sampler for 2007.  I have been making  a cross stitch sampler every year since 1978  and last year  I missed making one.  That means  that this year, (hey! that's 30 years), I have two  to finish, so I cheated and choose a super easy pattern.  You know, it nearly drove me mad.  I kept making counting errors and having to reverse sew.  Sometimes things that look easy can be difficult.


When we went out to Boonah last weekend we stopped for lunch at a pub and there was this cut kid in the bar.  (I asked permission to take his photo.)


Skin + Bones

I wish I was going to London so that I could see this great exhibition that will be on at Somerset House.  It explores the relationship between clothing and architecture.  I am going to spend hours just checking out the links to the fashion designers and the architects involved.  There are some of the best websites I have seen, not to mention the design they display.


I did find a use for that fabric

I had done all these experiments with dyeing flannelet a few years ago and just didn't know what to do with it.  The puppy needed something warm to sit on.  Put those together and you have a quilt.


And I have finished another stitch for the Stitchin Fingers stitch along.  This time Feathered Chain Stitch.  I still haven't found instructions for Tied Double Chain, perhaps it has another name.


More Fabric

I had lunch with my daughter Laura today at Ipswich, where she works as an Accountant.  This is really wierd.  She is so artistic, wanted to be a Fashion Designer, then changed to Architecture and ends up an Accountant.  (Maybe she could be a creative accountant?)  Anyway, the point of the trip was to purchase fabric to make her some clothing. 

She had on a great suit, that she had bought on Ebay and when we worked out the cost of the fabric it turns out it is cheaper to buy the clothes.  But that didn't stop me from buying some fabric.   Well I couldn't leave it there!

After this I went to check out the Art Gallery and in a box tucked away I found this piece of fabric.


I'm sure that there was probably a lot of wool woven before this but all the calico came down from India so this just might be the first piece of Calico made in Australia.  (Which was a collection of Colonies back then.)

Outside the ladies loo was this sculpture.  It is called 'Tap Root' and is by Christopher Trotter.


I came home to get on with my stitch along project for Stitchin Fingers .  I had no idea that I had so much  embroidery fabric, including some Moire in the right colours.  I also found a whole heap of jewelery that I must have hidden there!  And right at the bottom I found some red work embroidery I had done to make cushions.  I think I will make these up and sell them at the Embroiderers' Guild's Xmas Fair.  I'm never going to use them and I don't think any one will want them in my family, even as a gift.