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Busy weekend

I find that my eye is improving but I have no sense of balance and see everything very lop sided.  Definately not good enough to drive.  I had said that I would make some cushions for my friend Kay but the overlocker was a bit sick, it turned out to be the power board, and I couldn't see to sew anyway.  I was feeling very guilty about not getting these finished.  I took them one each day, I couldn't see the black fabric at night, and got them finished, finally.

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The brief was "put in some zippers"  but she had sent a sample that was piped so the edges were piped, (even harder to see), but there wasn't enough fabric to cut it on the bias. (I wasn't happy about that.)  The zippers were sewn into a placket so they were hidden.

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Then there was the problem of getting them to her.  I can't drive, so it had to be the post.  I got the bus up to the big shopping centre, 40 mins each way, only to find there was no post office.  Back again to the local post office and away they went.

I tell you it wasn't 5 mins after I got home when the telephone rings. " We have a visitor from the USA with us can we bring them over to the island and I can pick up the cushions?"   I should have known.

Then the phone starts again.  Mum, my washing machine is broken can I come and do my washing at your place?  (and be fed, stock up on food  and other things.) 

Again, Mum, it looks like being a good weekend we thought we would come and visit with the girls.  Better ring my other son and see if he wants to come as well. 

Hi Guy, everyone is coming to lunch, how about you?  "I'm sick."

Hell, no food for that many people.  On the ferry to get the bus.  But it is Saturday and the bus doesn't start till later.  My watch tells me I walked 15 kilometres on Saturday, and there was all the cooking (three with special food requirements), and getting the place in order.  (My flowers are blooming and make the day a whole lot better.)

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Sunday was a lovely day and today I have got the washing on the line and a few more loads to go through the dishwasher.  Going to have to get some more shopping.  Twelve people to feed goes through the food.

Today is the day

I am off to hospital today for the next operation.  The first has been pretty successful although I managed to get a sinus infection which is receiving lots of antibiotics to get rid of it.  I am such a worry wort.  I know everything will be fine but I still wonder what if...?  So we had my husbands birthday lunch last Sunday even though his birth day isn't until tomorrow.  Just the family, and we all got together at Indigiscapes.  It isn't the flashest place but it is beautiful and very kid friendly.

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Monique brought at friend 'Will' , who is the class teddy.  There are 2 teddies, Bourke and Wills, as in the explorers.  These 2 go home with students on weekends and then the student writes stories about their adventures.  After lunch we all headed out to do the Wildflower and Tallowwood Walks, Will went with us.

He saw that the creek was very cloudy after all the rain we have had but that this made a wonderful mirror of the sky.

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It took a bit to explain why you could look down and see up.

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He also saw some bright orange fungi growing on a tree branch.

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And where those bush babies had written all over the scribbly bark.  (Some other people had left their initials.)

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Then he saw the 400 year old Tallow wood tree.

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Monique read to us how all the other trees had been cut down by the timber gatherers but that this tree had been hit by lightening 300 years ago and had grown very twisted.  This had saved it's life and today it is home to koala bears and all other kinds of animals.

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We stopped at the pond to look at the wild ducks and birds and he saw these dark shapes under the water, they were tortoises.

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Then he got a bit tired after all that walking so got to have a ride on Uncle Guy's shoulders, with Monique..

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Then he went with Monique and Jasmine to draw some pictures of their adventures on the walk.

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He had such a good time and my husband loved his birthday lunch.


Interesting day trip

I had an interesting trip this week up to Toowoomba.  The weather was terrible and the trip up took me almost 4 hours and then another 3 to get back home again.  I was really tired after all that driving.  I went to a trunk show talk by Michelle Hill who is hanging up her hat and not doing any of this kind of thing again.  So it was a must do.

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I bought a copy of her new book 'Stitching with Beatrix Potter' not that there is anything that I will stitch, rather, just to have a copy for reference.

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After my stay in Cumbria a few years ago when I visited Hill Top Farm, (again, and again, and again), I was just enchanted by the Stitching done by Potter.  I wasn't allowed to take photos and there were no post cards for sale of her work.   But she was a great embroiderer as well as being great at lots of other things.

Michelle is best known for her William Morris inspired fabrics and quilts which you can see here.  But I was able to look up close and her stitching is so fine and that quilting is to die for.

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And when you get up close you can see all kinds of embroidered embellishments.

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When I got home I found a gift from my husband on my desk.

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Isn't that sweet.

Jasmine's Birthday

This birthday seems to have taken ages to arrive.  But then there it was.  Jasmine is now 5 years old, (going on 30 something.)  We all decended on Karawatha Forest Park where there is a great nature play centre for children.

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Water pumps.  Keeps them busy but not too much water comes out.

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great places to run and play.

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And the bigger kids looked after the little ones.

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It was a Smurf themed party and the 'Smurf Brains'  (blue jelly) was a great hit with all the kids.

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This lot of kids are being raised on 'healthy food' so the chance to eat popcorn, chips and lollies is a rare treat. There was one little boy who just ate and ate.

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His parents would move him on but next time I looked he was back again.

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For some of the little ones it was their first time with these foods and the expressions were wonderful.

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And that kid was back again.

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Young Rose just couldn't resist the popcorn.

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Then it was time to cut the cake and open the presents.  This took some time because Jasmine would notice that some kid was missing and they all took of to find him or her.

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Finally everyone was together and she could open her presents.  And she got sooo many.

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Each one was discussed and inspected.

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I think it will be birthday that she remembers.

For no reason

I saw a set of book ends in the children's section of a gift shop and fell in love with them.  So I bought them for myself, for no reason other than I liked them.

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They are made of heavy caste iron and really hold my folders in place.  I keep expecting them to come to life and gallop away.

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I also finished painting the bottom of the hat box which is the final sample for the July Children's Classes. I had to come up with something that a kid could do.  This is just painted with a water based paint and then I glued glitter stars at random to the sides.

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I'm getting a bit nervous about this op on Friday so have spent the day in the garden,  Mowing the lawns, trimmed the trees, potted up plants and trimmed the edges.  I got through my allotted amount of exercise by 11am.  Now at the end of the day I have completed 3 days worth of exercise.  I should sleep tonight.





The wonders of nature

I was sweeping the balcony outside my bedroom.  Because I have a high window that gives access to the roof I get a lot of leaves and seeds being blown in.  I found one leaf that was just a bit different to the others and when I looked closely I could see that it was from a succulent.  When I looked even closer I saw that it had 3 baby plants growing at it's edges.

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Those little plants are perfectly formed, they even have roots and that leaf is only about 4" long.   What a wonder nature is?


Start of another week

Remember when the weeks used to go slowly?  It is a dim memory to me.  We moved to the island to retire and I am so busy.  I have another week of 'busy' coming up.

Last Friday and Saturday I spent with my friend Angela up at Toowoomba.  I always enjoys this time.  I am looked after like a queen.  Allan, Angela's husband is a fantastic cook and he always makes the meals interesting.  Added to this he likes baking.  So when I head off to the quilting group my lunch is packed for me and that includes home baked bread rolls.

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Angela is an expert quilter on the domestic machine, sweet sixteen and a long arm machine.  They are off soon for Europe and she has made 6 quilts to take to friends and relatives.  I like this hexagon quilt in particular.  It would be a great quilt for a boy.

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And the quilting pattern suits the quilt and I think is something that I could manage.

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And how about this for a cot quilt?

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You could use up little scraps and still put together a quilt quickly.  Clever lady my friend.

A new toy

I have a brand new toy.  A Scorpio terminator 10 kayak, it matches my birth sign.

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I have been thinking of buying one for a while now but I just couldn't decide between a sit in or sit on.  I choose a sit on because it is easier to get out of and this one is set up for fishing as well.  The sit in looks better and goes faster.

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But I am no 'spring chicken' and as I get older I still want to be active, so I am now all set up.

We loaded the new kayak into the ute, which has been misbehaving, and after a couple of detours headed home. 

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We no sooner got onto the barge and some clown put a pirate flag on it.  Are they trying to tell me something?

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Learning to stitch - No 1

My daughter-in-law was off to give a paper at a conference and I have been baby sitting for a few days.  For me that means moving house over to the mainland.  My grand daughter, Monique, who is 6 y.o. has asked me to teach her to embroider.  Her nearly 5 y.o. sister Jasmine insists that she wants to learn as well.  I have been waiting for this moment, which is very significant for me.  I was taught by my grandmother and we started about the same age. 

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We have been working with a plastic needle and lacing cards up till now and I have put a lot of thought into how I will teach her.  Now, I have taught lots of kids to embroider but when it comes to my own I want them to love what they are doing and that it become something special to her, like it is for me and was for my grand mother and her Grandmother.

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  I have so much at risk here if I don't get it right.

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I have decided that I will start with a running stitch sampler.  I have selected an 8 count Aida cloth, 22 tapestry needles and No 5 Perle thread in shades of her favourite colour, pink. .  To this end I have a frame to put it in when it is finished and they will sign their name and the date. 

But the best made plans are often not what actually happens.

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I have drawn where to start and finish the stitching on the fabric. Then when we looked at the fabric, she and I, I became aware just how stiff the fabric was and that the hoop was too big.  Because I had used a water soluble pen  I removed this with water and this softened the fabric.  I also reduced the size of the hoop which gave me a practice piece of fabric which I cut off to use as a book mark.

When I started to think this through, it became obvious that starting stitching is quiet complicated. The book mark has become the first project because it can be finished in a few sessions and it is something they will use.   Both girls needed a project bag to put their work in so that had to be made as well.

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Here is my ten step lesson plan and what actually happened.

  • Step 1  Wash your hands
  • Step 2  How to divide and store your threads. - 
  • I ended up having to do this myself,  also, we had to learn about the length of the thread they would use and how you measure it.
  • Step 3 How to cut a thread.  - 
  • This is hard for little hands.  They can easily cut the thread when they are finished but it is a bit difficult to begin with.  I have cut all their threads to a length that they can handle so this is will be something we will work at.
  • Step 4 How to thread a needle -
  • This is going to take some time.  Demonstration and trial and error with this one.
  • Step 5 How to locate the centre of your work.-
  • We got that straight off although I know this will vary from child to child.
    Step 6 One way of starting the stitching.
  •   -.  I decided to start with a knot.  We will try other methods later.
    Step 7 How to manipulate the needle to do running stitch.
  • - I started with the smaller piece of fabric and an un-threaded needle.  Just working out how to put the needle in and out of the holes took a whole session but when we came to stitch with thread it payed dividends
  • Step 8 How to sew a row of running stitch and then repeat this in another row  keeping the count even.
  • -  They did this almost with no help at all.  Accompanied by the singing of happy songs.  I think they like stitching!
  • Step 9 How to finish your thread.
  • - Just a back stitch.
  • Step 10 How to store your work until you are ready to stitch again.
  •   Those project bags now hang on the handles of their bedroom doors.

So next week we will finish the book mark.  They read books every night so this is something practical they can use.  Then we will start the sampler.





A break

I'm away today for a short break with fiends.  The sewing machine and quilting are packed in the car and I am on the 8:20 am barge.  The weather has turned very windy and quite cool.  I hope they have the big barge on and that there are not as many cars as there were on the weekend.

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