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December 2009
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February 2010

January 2010

The cleaning bug

I wondered when it was going to hit.  I have been off work for about 8 weeks now and haven't had any inclination to really clean.  Oh, I vacuum and dust but haven't got into the corners with a knitting needle or moved all the books out of the book shelves and cleaned every book and then remove all the shelves and clean under them.  Or clean and then polish all the leather chairs or the window etc.  I did that today.  Out of no where it hit me. 

When I was taking out all the books I came across some old photos of my boys when they were little.  Guy, my second boy, was terribly ill as a baby.  He was given an injection and suffered cardiac and respiratory arrest and was clinically dead for 50 mins.  It was all so painful.  When they revived him he was on a respirator and all the needles and tubes seemed to be in his head.  After a week we agreed to turn of all the life supports.  How I prayed and held onto my faith that he wouldn't die.  We had him baptised in hospital and the priest said that the church doesn't baptise for death but for life.

And he survived, but was unconscious for another three weeks.  An older nurse told me that she had noticed that he seemed to know I was there.  So, for 24 hrs straight I sat beside him and sang songs and told him stories and he awoke.   This old photo is marked and a bit dirty but this is when God gave me a special blessing.


Looking for furniture.

My daughter is now home and looking for second hand furniture to furnish her house.  After her trip to the USA she has no money so we headed out to the opportunity shops at Ipswich.  The economic downturn has hit people hard in these areas.  The small farming towns to the west of the city are on level 5 water restrictions and the towns out there are surviving but not thriving.  Second hand furniture is in high demand and there wasn't a lot to see.  So, we looked for other things.

In a small shop called Inkuku Art & Craft which was down stairs in the Old Flour Mill in Brisbane Street,  there I found this chicken.  Now, I have a great fondness for chickens and am always on the look out for ones that are different.  These are made from recycled plastic by Zimbabwean refugees and less than $10.00 each.  Needless to say I had to buy one.  So this will now be my Easter Chicken.  Problem is what to name him?


There is something about small country town I like.  In Laidley we found that the opportunity shops shut at 3pm, when school was out.  I love old houses that are lived in.  Kids, pets long grass and just one block from the main street. No driving to pick up the kids after school.



Australia Day 2010

I was up with the birds to go to the South-bank Parklands to take some more photos.  I thought that I was early a 5am but there were already people there setting up for the day, complete with flags.


  The Piazza was all prepared for a service and there were clothes lines hung with children's drawings.

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The Bouganvillia was flowering overhead and the city lay reflected in the river.

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Then I went to photograph the faces on the Pagoda.   It is really strange, there are no two faces the same as each other.  There is a subtle different between each.  This is especially noticable with the faces of women who represent the moon but I have found the same thing with the male faces who represent the sun.  Is this because they represent some phase of a cycle or are they just faces of people the the artists knew?

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Fairies from over the ocean.

The little fairies "Mytle and Moss" arrived today.  They had flown right across the USA and the Pacific Ocean to my mail box.  They were a bit shaken after their epic journey but after being dusted off they are both fine.  They are not very happy in the little box that they flew in so I am going to make them a new house.  The are so beautiful I think that the fairies that live around here will be jealous.




I have been playing around with my camera to see what kinds of effects I can get.  I have two roses in pots in my garden, that's all, but, they are beautiful.  This one is called Dior and goes a blueish colour but starts pink  and the most beautiful perfume.



I am still practicing my free motion quilting, 9hrs this week, not nearly enough but I think I have improved, slightly.  I am so anxious when I sit at the machine that things just don't flow.  But, I could see a small improvement in my stitching in this weeks challenge.    

I have started on the faces.


Persian Embroidery

I have finally found an example of Persian Embroidery and I can see elements that have been used in pulled thread embroidery across numerous European countries from Scandinavia to the Ukraine.  This work has just been put up on the Antique Pattern Library website.   It was written by Emilie Bach and Titled "New patterns in old styles" ( She was the Directress of the Imperial and Royal School of Art-Needlework in Vienna.)  The book was published by TH de Dillmont.  Unfortunately there isn't a date of publication listed.


I know that pulled thread work has its roots in Persian embroidery but had not been able to find an example.  At the beginning of the article the author says:

"The kind of work we are now going to describe is as yet little known in Europe."

The plot thickens.  This picture would have been enough for an experienced embroiderer to reproduce the piece.  We are a bit pampered today.

There has been a whole new lot of books posted on this website and they form a wonderful resource.  (The new books are listed in red and you need the latest version of Acrobat Reader to download them.)

I am a reformed work-a -holic

I decided not to go to work today.  It was a most painful decision, but, after looking at what I wrote yesterday I decided I had to do something about my addiction to work.  So, I practiced my   free motion quilting, it is so boring.  So boring in fact that I went and did the shopping, took the dog for 2 walks, put in a couple of hours on my sampler and even did some housework.  I'm not sure how I'm going to overcome the boredom of doing this free motion quilting. 

Then I got an email from GoMAI'm off to the movies.  There are some great ones showing at the gallery.  This is my first choice.

The Colour of Pomegranates 1968 / Director: Sergei Parajanov /

Image courtesy: Nora Armani, Kino


Student Free Day

This is the first time in the 24 years that I haven't gone to school for the student free day.  A really strange feeling but I am on long service leave.  I will go in tomorrow to meet my new staff and make sure that they settle in.  (Does that make me a work-a-holic?)

I got started on my sampler today.  I am stitching one thread of silk over one thread of 25 count linen.  This will probably be a long project.  I found I could see what I was doing if I sat in the daylight with my new glasses on, so I will not need to use a magnifying glass.

I was clicking around the net looking at embroidery and I came across the website of Joel Henriques.  Now I wish I had had a Dad who make things like this for me when I was a kid.

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And I don't know what I did wrong when I was sewing when I had little children.  They never sat there like this, they pulled the plug out of the machine so I would stop!

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And the embroidery?  Look at these T shirts.  He even has a movie of him stitching.

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I have spent hours griding up my fabric to begin my 2010 cross stitch sampler only to find I have the wrong thread count for the fabric.  I really should read things more carefully.  I needed a 25 threads to 1" count and instead got a 28 thread count to the inch.  Oh well I have to start again.  I'm sure that I will use the fabric for another project and when I do I will not have to grid it up.


When I down loaded the photo of the fabric I found I had another series of photos I had taken when we were over on Coochiemudlo Island. Where what had been the haunted house, (it burnt down about 17 years ago) the new owners have not built another house but  brought all these railway carriages onto the block.  There are all kinds of animals on the block and a gate decorated with plastic budgies.


There is now another entrance to a mauve carriage with this amazing path leading from the road.


Each of the poles are made up of cast off items and there are mauve shoes scattered in the grass.  Mirrors are hung on the trees and the reflections are works of art.  Very unusual.

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The dog has fleas, OMG!!  That meant the house had to be sprayed, that gives me asthma so I had to try not to breath and wear a mask.  In this heat!  Then, everything had to be washed.  Quilts, rugs chair covers, the lot, including the dog.  She is already on an expensive flea treatment but I had to go out and buy another and a flea collar.  I think I got them all, I hope I got them all.

As to sewing, I got one hour on my free motion quilting practice, I think I will review my skills at 50 hours.  I am not enjoying the process at all, I hate not being able to be proficient at a skill.  I would like to be able to use my machine with the level of skill that embroiderer Louise Gardiner uses hers.  In the September/October 2009 issue of Embroidery there is the most wonderful images of her work and I am filled with envy of her skills. 


The other site to be warned about is the V& A in London.  Whenever I visit London I get lost in that place for at least a week.  They have some really interesting videos on their site.  Great to watch.  I love the one about the Splendor of India's Royal courts.  But don't get carried away or you could use all you download for the month there.