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July 2017

August 2017

Some normality for a little while

I was able to bring my husband home from hospital yesterday.  He is so pleased to be back in his own environment and I don't have that long drive every day.  He has a long way to go before he is back to his old self but every day sees an improvement.   I am the one who will have to adjust to sharing the house again.  I have set myself a routine I like and that doesn't go down to well with him.  You would think that after all these years of marriage we would have all this worked out?  But no, the push and shove continues.  At least it isn't dull.

I am still trying to finish all the kits for the Children's Class.  Everything is just one big mess at the moment.  My cutting table looks like a bomb has hit it.

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If I look at the room for a distance it isn't too bad, but up close uggh.

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And that bundle of completed kits is so small!

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And when I went on my walk to the beach this morning I was hit by the perfume of freshias. 

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I didn't plant my bulbs because I thought it was too warm but the wild ones are all in bloom. Blow!


That Indian theme

I don't know why but this is the second book I have read, and fallen in love with, that has an Indian theme.  I haven't got to the end yet because I am savouring the story.  The book was originally published in Swedish but has been translated into English and quite of few other lanuages and has the long title, The amazing story of the man for cycled from India to Europe for love by PerJ Andersson.  Isn't that a great book cover?

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The title says what the book is all about but there is so much more to this story.  I didn't know when I bought the book but the main character is an indigenous Indian and an artist. One of my most treasured books is by another Indian artist from the same group of people.  The night life of trees. Published by Tara Books.  (There is an interesting piece by John Berger on their blog.  Although I wish people would catch on the fact that there is an older art by Aboriginal Australians that that in Europe. 70,000 year of history in Australian art is slightly more than the 30,000 years of cave art in Europe.)

The main character is from the same group of people.

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No one could make up this story in their imagination.  It goes far beyond imagining.  I bought the book on Kindle but it is one of those books that you need a paper edition of so that you can pull it out and read again or leave in your will for your grand children.


Oh Dear!

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear! 

I didn't go to the hospital on Monday.  On Monday I realised that I have just one week to come up with a project for the Children's Classes in the September Holidays.  That is whilst I'm driving up and down to the hospital and everything else going on.  So it is panic stations here at the moment.   Getting the project ready also entails preparing all the kits etc.  I don't know if I can do this.

Anyway, we had decided on making a draw string bag.  Not your normal easy to put together bag, one that is a bit more difficult.  I have had to tweek the design a bit but I think I can come up with something.  Normally this kind of bag is lined.  This will not work on a production assembly line.  All the kids will finish at the same time and we just won't be able to put them together.  Most of the machine stitching will have to be done in advance.  The solution to this problem is my major concern at the moment.

This bag has a round base 7" in diameter.

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The sides are one piece of fabric 20.5" long and 10" deep.  Normally with this kind of bag you would put the seam at the centre back but we won't have time to put the casing on so I have moved this to the side seam. To neaten the top edge I have bound it with a contrasting fabric the same as that round base.

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Then stitched the draw string casing in place, also in a contrasting fabric. (I like to mark my construction lines with tailors chalk because it is easy to remove.)  I think this is as much of the pre-construction that I can get away with.   I have started work on the basic design which is based on yo yo's.  Even beginners should be able to handle this.  The good thing about this design is that it can be extended.  I am just going to do the front designs, the rest is for the imagination.

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After the kids get to this point we will have to sew up the back seam and insert the base. I timed myself and it takes 15 mins to sew the bag together. I think 2 of us will be able to handle this but I might need another volunteer on a machine.  The finish is not what I would like, but it is more important to get a finished product here.  There will be a few of my dedicated embroiderers who would prefer to make the bag in the traditional way so I will put together a few kits with just the components so they can finish their work at home,

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One design down, I need to stitch another.

I have called this a 'Mary Bag' from the rhyme, 'Mary, Mary quite contary, how does you garden grow.'  I have added a lady bug to this one but there are all kinds of creepy crawlies that could but put on, as embroideries or charms.  I know a couple of the boys might like 'dead flowers or weeds'.  I better be prepared for that.

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The snowflake decoration tutorial

I promised to put up this little tutorial some time ago but with all the drama going on here I forgot.

 

You could use this method for any type of round decoration.

For my decorations I used a 32 count linen which is a a bit stiff and a cotton,( with a high thread count) printed fabric for the back.  Other fabrics could by used, some might even gather better than these ones did.  I also used a heavier card  (1 for the embroidery, 1 for the backing)  for the shapes, not the very heavy but an in-between weight.  It has to have enough stiffness in it that it will not buckle.

 I wanted a finished size of 3"  so I used a template to trace the shape onto the card.  I then found the centre and marked the quarters on the card with a pencil.  This is important because there is nothing worse than a piece that has an off centre design.

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I then took a round bowl that was larger than the desired finished sized and marked a cutting line.  Again making sure that the embroidery was in the centre with an equal distance to the edge on all sides.  The back didn't really matter if it wasn't centred so I just marked the circles.

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On both the front and the back I stitched a line of running stitch about 1/4" from the edge.  (I tried doing this with the sewing machine but the result wasn't as good.)

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I put a long pin through the centre of the card and then through the centre of the design and pulled up the gathering thread, it sat just right. 

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I used the extra thread left over from the gathering to lace the fabric in place.  This was repeated on the backing shape.

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I then attached the hanging cord so it could be enclosed between the two sections.

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The back and front were whip stitched together using a cotton quilting thread, which is just a bit heavier than normal sewing thread.  To start the stitching I ran my needle  behind the fabric for a short distance before my beginning stitch and did the same when I finished the thread.

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To stitch Van Dyke stitch I ran the thread in the same way as before using a perle 8 thread.

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This was stitch over the two edges of the decoration.

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Van Dyke stitch is worked between two imaginary lines.  In this case the edges of the front and back shapes become the lines.

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Because I used an even weave linen inserting the needle at a 2 thread interval kept the stitch even.  It was also easy to work around that hanging thread.

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When you use this stitch in this way it raises it up and makes a good edge to attach beads to but can be also used as it is.  In fact using this stitch on an edge defines the edge and gives an attractive finish.  I have used it on needle cases and even pages of fabric books. This method of construction does take some time but gives a good finish to your piece.

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Tea break

With all the stresses of the past couple of weeks I find that I can't sit and stitch.  I have tried but kept making mistakes, so I have put it aside until I feel I can handle it.  I also had visitors arrive in the midst of all the confusion.  I made cake and coffee for morning tea getting out an old dinner set that I haven't used for some time along with proper serviettes, not just paper ones.  I bought the set in Norway back in the 1970's.  (I keep seeing pieces of it in antique shops so it must have been on sale here as well. ) 

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I was struck by how much I enjoyed drinking my coffee from a cup rather than a mug.  There wasn't as much coffee or milk or sugar as I would usually have and it got me thinking about how my mother and grandmother would have served tea.  (Coffee was hard to come by back then and everyone drank tea or used chickory.)  I went looking for the tea and coffee pots but they seem to have disappeared in the move.    (Now the hunt is on in the op shops for some replacements.) The driving 4 to 5 hours every day, the strained back and the stress have been playing havoc with my gall stones.  I have to have something done there but in the mean time I am going to limit coffee and stick to a low fat diet.

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Image: C. H.H. Burleigh (1869 - 1956) The Geffrye, Museum of Home

https://artuk.org/discover/artworks/the-burleigh-family-taking-tea-at-wilbury-crescent-hove-133012

what you are doing. Just look at the Japanese tea ceremony.

I think there is a lot to be said in favour of being 'mindful' about the things that we do.  The Japanese Tea Ceremony is a good example of this.

 

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So putting all this together I have decided to have cups of tea rather than my usual mug.  I bought myself a new tea pot, milk jug and a set of tea cups, so that if I have guests I can offer cups that are of a size somewhere between a traditional teacup and a mug and I will stop to have tea rather than drinking whilst I work.

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 That tea really does taste different,  I think I will have to make a tea cosie for that new pot and I'm even considering going back to tea leaves after reading about the environment impact of tea bags. 

(Some tea bags have plastic in them !)

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The local quilt show

There was a local quilt show at the Redland's Council Hall a few weeks ago.  The small space was crammed full of quilts on display.  They were packed in so tightly that it was difficult to take photos.  Most quilts were beautifully stitched but copies of other quilts or from purchased kits.  But in amongst these were a couple of original quilts.   These were stand outs.  They were only for display not part of the competition and were made by a local resident.  She had used the birds and flowers in her own garden as inspiration.

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Because space was so tight I couldn't get a photo of the full quilt but I did manage some of the panels in the quilt.

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The central panel was quite lovely,

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and when you looked into it the hand quilting complemented the design.

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Each of the surrounding panels would have made lovely small quilts in their own right.

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I bet there are lots of other pieces in peoples homes that are just as beautiful but are never shared outside their families.

 


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A day at home

I had my day at home to recuperate and clear up Emails and the like and I am feeling much refreshed.

  It is beautiful weather here and the noise of birds singing and talking to one another is quite loud.  It isn't the harsh conversation of the parrots but the piping song of smaller birds. The sun makes lovely patterns as it shines through the trees onto the road.

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And the water is blue and clear.

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We have a number of people who live on the anchored boats and I sat on top of the bank and watched one as he took his old dog lady for a paddle.

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The sun is shining brightly and families are visiting the island.  Amazing what enjoyment can be got from a bit of driftwood and some old rope.

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This weather not only has the birds out in force but all the plants and trees are flowering a good couple of mounts in advance of when they should. 

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I just hope we don't have a cold snap which will put them all back.  I didn't plant any bulbs this year because the weather has been so warm so they will have to wait until next I suppose.

 

 

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WIPW

I have been working on my sprained back by resting, not lift anything heavy and not bending over too much.  It's working.  Now only going over speed bumps, coughing  and sneezing cause a lot of pain.  All the other pain is being controlled by pain killers!

Charlie has the idea of how not to do too much.

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I did finish the peace embroidery for August.  I don't really like it much.  I should have used an even coloured thread.   I think I will put this one down to experience.

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And because I have tried to keep still I have started some more knitting.  This is another shawl and I am trialing some wool that I bought a couple of months ago from 'Kaalund Yarns.'  (As you can see I am doing some 'reverse' knitting as well.)

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This is a really nice wool.  The spinning of the yarn is even and has given it a nice twist.  Very satisfying to knit with this wool.  Just wish I didn't make so many mistakes in the pattern.

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On the home front my husband has been raising my stress levels by knocking on the doors of heaven but so far St. Peter is keeping him out.  Not too good for my blood pressure and that 4 hour round trip to the hospital isn't too good for my back either.  Now that he seems to be out of danger I am going to sit at home today and sew.

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Plastic

I came across a Spanish website called totnens that had an article on recycling plastic toys.  There are just so cute that I am now on the look out for old plastic toys in the op shops.  Just look at this crockery.

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And this would make a great gift for any of the young (or old) kids in the family.

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But best of all (for me) are these Xmas decorations.  I can see them now decorating the dinner table.

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There are other great ideas for kids on this website, great time waster