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March 2016

Cows that run on batteries

In my dusting duties I have found a collection of cows , yes yet more cows, that run on batteries.  For those that are minus their batteries I intend to leave them like that and I am not renewing the batteries of those that have them when they run out!

I have a flying cow suspended from the ceilings.  I wonder if it flew or just flapped it's wings?

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I have a cow that is a radio.  It has a rather sweet face.

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Another cow just looks like a cow but

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when you press the lever it's mouth opens and it becomes a torch.

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And finally there is the biscuit barrel cow.

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You open the lid to get a biscuit out and it has the loudest moo.

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There are so many different cows in this house I don't think I will ever see all of them.


I must start by apologising for the bad images.  My husband is having some more health issues and all I had to hand was my phone.

This week is all about getting back to where I was.  Although, the Easter Holidays do tend to slow everything down a bit.  The class sample is progressing and starting again has given me the opportunity to document each step and the amount of time taken to complete each step. You can't see it from this shot but the threads are all over-dyed fine perle from Stef Francis and the shading is really lovely.  (I will get some better shots next week.)

Once I finish this outlining I will then put in the details.

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I have also done a few stitches on my Portuguese Box design.  This piece is hard on the eyes.  I don't think I will attempt a 40 count linen piece again in a hurry.

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Settling into a routine again.

I hoped that life would returns to normal again now that I am home but nothing runs just how we would like it.

Hayley, the owner of the cow house that we are renting while the alterations are completed, greeted me with the information that she had put another hen in with Chookie   So, "please keep the gate closed on the chicken coup for the next few days.  This chicken is the survivor of a dog attack that killed her friends so please be kind to her."

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She is a young black hen with very pretty feathers and a small comb.  She has been petted and spoilt and I'm not sure how she survived the dog attack.  Anyway there she was with Coockie , who wasn't at all pleased at having a companion in her hen house.  She hated the fact that the door was closed as well because she usually comes and goes as she pleases.  There seemed to be a lot of ruffled feathers during the day and I wasn't sure that these two would get on.  I told Hayley she might have to move Blackie as Coockie was very perturbed.  In the afternoon Charlie went into the yard and stood at the fence and looked at them and they decided that there were worse things than another choock,  that was a dog.  So they decided they would be best friends.

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Then later in the afternoon they flew out of the hen house.  I caught them and put them back in.  I knew that Choockie would survive alright in the big bad world but not Blackie. 

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I warned Hayley that we had a problem.  When I walked home I found Choockie was gone and Blackie was wandering about.  Now, my left arm still isn't too good.  Not good enough to catch a hen and carry her so I tired to herd her up the road to Hayley's farm which is only about 3 houses away.  She made so much noise that a neighbour came and helped me catch her and I carried her up to the farm and thought " what a stupid choock."

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Fast forward to about 2am in the morning.  There is a blood curdling scream from either a cat or a flying fox as it is taken by a python.  Cheese cake, Hayley's dog, barks like mad.  Hayley, who had too much wine with dinner swears at the dog and tells it how stupid it is.  In the light of day it becomes clear that those chickens are not as stupid as I thought.  Neither is the Kerlew who took refuge in a neighbours house.

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There is a snake here somewhere.

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Talking to another neighbour, Craig, who lives near by and is a deck hand on the ferry, he had rushed home from the ferry to pick up some lunch and when he closed the screen door it didn't slam.  He looked down and there was a snake half way into the house.  His wife, who has a new baby had a fit and screamed.  He picked up the snake and threw it out into the paddock. 

Guess what?  Everyone is making sure that the screens on the windows don't have holes and that those screen doors are firmly shut.  All this excitement really isn't good for my stitching.

Easter gifts

Every year at Easter I make gifts for my patchworking buddies.  I think this lot comes close to my most enthusiastic attempt which was the embroidered Pin cushions in 2013.  I missed 2015 due to my husbands ill health so wanted to make  sure that I finished something this year.  I decided on the magic 3rds bag and stripped my stash to get enough fabric.  It was amazing how many pieces of fabric I have that are just too small to make this bag and I didn't want to sew pieces together to do this.  (But thinking about that I might try that and see what happens.)

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I hope I got the number of members right this year.  I don't have access to by desktop computer where all my files are, but I have a couple of extras just in case.

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Inside I have placed some  chocolate Easter eggs and my two traveler,s  squares from the fabric I bought in Melbourne.   The most time consuming part of making these was attaching the beads to the points of each flap but they do hold the fabric in place.

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I better start thinking about 2017.  Maybe I can come up with something that isn't quite as much work!


A need to tidy

I don't know why but I feel I have to get everything around me tidied, starting with this blog.  I have been blogging with typepad since the 25th August,  2007.  That is nearly 9 years.   I have been thinking of moving to another platform.  Some of my techi friends seem to think this would be a good idea but I'm not so sure.  That is something I will have to think about.  I have added a search button to the blog and I intend to go back and sort everything into it's category.  When I started I had no idea what this function was!!  So, 9 years of tidying. 

I keep asking my son to help, but a blog that uses a template is below him.  He keeps telling me all these computer languages that I 'should' learn.  I just want to know how to personalise my page and put my logo on it. He is coming to visit this week end as it is the Easter Holiday.  The island is full of people visiting.  All the holiday houses have people staying and that spare block of land next door, that a lot of people have, are filled with tents.  The smell of bacon and eggs on the BBQ wafts through the window in the morning. 

There are also a lot of boats moored off the beach this year.  I like this one,it looks like pirate ship to me.

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And this kid is getting a free ride!

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There are lots of little sailing boats,

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and flash motor boats, not to mention lots of jet skis.

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But I have to get this blog tidy. Now get down to work.

The new book

I have seen images from this book, "Story Quilts", all over Pinterest but have never been able to find a copy in a shop.  I did look on-line but they all had Japanese text.  I am so glad that I waited until I found a copy with an English text because the words as well as the pictures are lovely.  (I bought the book at the Stitches and Craft show  from Be Be Bold)

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It isn't really a "how to" book rather the story behind the quilts.  There are some applique and embroidery patterns included but not for every quilt featured.  What I find fascinating is the detail.  The images seem to be alive and this is because of those embroidered details.

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Here we live in a tropical climate.  Summers are hot and humid and the most one needs is a sheet on the bed at night.  Quilts are just too hot.  When my boys were young I used old pillow cases to make bed-covers.  I had inherited them from my mother-in-law and the fabric was soft after years of washing.  I didn't do anything fancy just sewed them together using the decorative stitches on my sewing machine.  They were a little heavier than a single sheet but the boys loved them.  I patched and repaired them till they could be repaired no more.

Now I would like to decorate the bed sheets for my grand daughters and I think some of the appliques in this book will be the starting point for my work.

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Little girls marching across the sheets should look good and make the bed a bit more dressed.  I hope the girls like them too.



Well my worst fears were realised and I do have to start my sample again.  The difference in the colour of the fabric wasn't caused by washing, it is totally just different.  I cut all my pieces about 5% larger in case of shrinkage and I needed all of that.  As per usual the selvedge  was were the shrinkage was greatest so I removed all of that.  So now I have to start all over again.  I will finish my first sample as a gift for someone at Christmas.  Maybe not this Christmas though!

I have managed to unpick the different coloured thread in the decoration and that is back on track.

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And I made myself sit and do some stitching on the Portuguese set.  Not a lot but I am no longer sitting still on this one.

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I think it is the guilt factor that is associated with this work in progress Wednesday posts?  I suppose that is what keeps one on track.  In my case it is working so I shall not complain.

The builders have gone away for Easter leaving the house for me.  I had planned to camp here over the break and get some work done, then I get a telephone call from the painter.  He wants to start tomorrow.  So it is back to working when the tradesmen go home.  I am so looking forward to this all being finished!

Stitches and Craft show Brisbane

I volunteered to help man the Queensland Embroiderers' Guild stand at the Brisbane Stitches and Craft Show for a few hours last week.  This is not as easy as it used to be because I have so far to travel.  I wasn't rostered on until mid day and I arrived before the show started.  (I will have to remember that in future.)  As the bus home didn't leave till 4pm I had a little time to look around and spend some money.

There were a couple of nice exhibitions .  One from Q'd Quilters that included this small quilt.


And another called "A Matter of Time".  It was quite a big exhibition but there were a few pieces that caught my eye.  I loved the use of paper and thread in this piece.





and these two works were interesting.





I felt quite moved by the content of this piece called "I'm coming home."





The show seemed a lot smaller than it was in previous years but it was still enjoyable.  I  also bought a new book and some fabric that I will write about later as they are rather special.


The start of the knitting season?

My husband is back in the land of the medical procedure as some other medical problems have surfaced and I am sitting in hospital waiting rooms, waiting.  After the first day I realised that these places are quite cool due to the air conditioning.  Great for knitting.  Back earlier this year I received a gift from friend Pammy that included a little knitting kit.  It was from Tasmania, where she had been traveling and included some wool, needles and pattern for a tea cosie. 


As all my other wool is packed up and they requires me to dig through boxes to find them and this kit was right in front of me, I choose it.  it was made by a small company called "Art viva".


It is the knitting needles that this company makes and they are just lovely to knit with.  I also see that they are stocked by a lot of shops around the world.


This little kit included wool from the Nundle Woollen Mill.

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  This mill can be found off the main highway, after a bit of a drive up a country road, in the small country town of NSW.


I have just about finished this tea cosie, I only have the teacup on top to finish.  I know two young girls who would like some mermaid tail rugs so I had better get myself organised and get started on those.  I think this means that Autumn is here, ( I keep reading words to that effect but I'm still feeling the heat ) and the knitting season has officially begun.



Finally, the shopping

I wandered off to get back to the main square and finally found a bench where I could sit and consult Google on my phone about fabric shops in the CBD. I found a reference to a group of shops in an arcade and as luck would have it I was sitting just across the road from it.

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After climbing the stairs up to the second floor I found L’ucello’s fancy goods and Haberdashary. It is a beautiful little shop.

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I was perspiring so profusely that I didn’t want to touch the fabrics but I was able to buy some lovely pieces and they had a wonderful selection of pure wool felt, I bought quite a colour range of these. Up the hall I found the Kimono shop but I had all the Japanese fabrics that I need so just had a look here.

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By now it was 4:30pm so I walked to the tram stop and after a bit of a wait got a very crowded tram back to near the apartment. That last bit of walking back was terrible. I got into the apartment to find my daughter had given up the heat long before me. We sat and had a glass of wine and a rest before heading out for dinner.

As this was our last night we wanted to try one of the bars and found a very busy one next to the Princess Theatre. It was full of exotic looking creatures both male and female and we made out way to the back of the bar that was air conditioned. (I’m past sitting in the heat to be seen.) We had a pleasant meal and a few drinks and then headed home again. Gee it was good to be cool.

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It came to our last day in Melbourne and finally the sun came up blazing into the sky. It lit all the windows in the sky scrapers with fire but I was just too tired to get out of bed to get my camera so this will just be a memory that I will carry with me in my mind.

We are finally getting the lie of the city and where everything is. Now it was me to leave, wouldn’t you know? I had a final wander around, went into a shop, come out and was completely lost. I had to ask the direction I was facing. After feeling rather stupid I made it back to where I said I would meet my daughter. This is one time I was glad that I am so pedantic, as I was nearly late, thinking I was early. I must have caught the time setter on my watch and wound it back.

We got a taxi to the airport with plenty of time. I was interested to see that some of the planes had figureheads painted on them. I wonder if these will be cut off and kept like the old see ones.

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We drove the 2 hours home and there was my island waiting for me.  No noise, just the birds, wind and sea.  Now it is time to get back to stitching.