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August 2016

July 2016

A break

I'm going away for a few days, well probably only two.  I have to have some tests done in hospital, nothing too bad I hope but I will be having a couple of days forced rest.  I found this embroidery on Pinterest and it said the pattern was available for $4.50 on Etsy. I thought it was Scandinavian but that title says Hungarian and when I visited the site it was something else again.  I like that 'bleached' pattern in the background of the fabric and the embroidery design, just glad I didn't click buy.  It just doesn't look Hungarian to me.

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Another find in the unpacking

Earlier I wrote about my interest,( that I have had since I was a young teenager,) in the Chinese Empress Cixi.  Just over a year ago I read the book about her by Jung Chang  and it stated that the author "had been given access to previously unseen material, including images."  That was partly true.  Now, when I was unpacking I came across a deck of cards that I must have had for over 20 years.  The printed translation material with them said that they were for playing Poker, which they say was invented in China.  I have just found them again in the unpacking.  I always hung onto them, even though I don't play Poker, because they had old Chinese photos on them.  Imagine my surprise when I realised there were a number of images of Cixi there.

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I might be wrong but she seems a bit older in this one.

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This one was in the book I think.

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Then there are the images with the wives of western diplomats.  Some very stern faces here.

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Or what about this one?

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And some of the images are rather sad.  Like this one of the last Emperor.

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And his famous concubine, she was so beautiful and just look at her costume and head dress.

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  So here they are on 3" x 2" playing cards.  It wasn't until I got a magnifying glass and could see the translations that I realised what a treasure I have.  Some of these photos featured in the book about Cixi but there are so many others here that I need to look closely at.



More Kogin

At my last advanced class I added a small project as an after thought.  The after thought was that the ladies who stitched the 'Hishi (beautiful) Sashi (stitch) patterns did so on other fabrics once the railway arrived.  They would buy bundles of old cloth as a group and then clean them, sometimes with fish scales, and then stitch with wools, that had by this stage become available.  This was the beginning of coloured thread stitching.  Looking at some of the examples in the Amuse Museum the mind just boggles at the skill of these stitchers.

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So with this in mind I included some curtain fabric which isn't completely even weave and has a good percentage of synthetic content.  I also included some of the beautiful hand dyed Shashiko thread to stitch with.  No one liked it and all quickly returned to the traditional hemp fabric.  So, I have stitched out the sample .

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A full run on one side and a diamond on the other.

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I used a light interfacing on the back of the curtain fabric, but I'm not sure it needed this.  I then made tabs to hold the cord and sewed this in with the lining.  It makes a very roomy bag that opens wide to see what you have inside.

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 And I am quite pleased with the finished bag.

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Perhaps this might inspire these ladies to have another try?


Unseasonable Weather

The weather here has turned quite hot.  It is the middle of winter and it should be really cold, but it is hot.  Just walking down the path from the ferry home you can see that all the plants are responding to the heat.

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There is quite of bit of leaf litter along the way and they do make lovely patterns.

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I noticed that the wattle is getting ready to bud

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and the further I ventured into the more sheltered parts I found that it was already blooming.

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Other plants have put out flowers that you wouldn't expect to see until September/October.

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One of my favourite spots is towards the south of the island where the land falls away  sharply to the beach.  There are always birds here.  Kingfishers, honey eaters etc.  At the moment the water is so clear that looking down at first you can't see it.

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The other flowers that are now blooming are the Grevilleas. These flowers are from Western Australia and come in a huge variety of colours.  Looks like we are going to have a good show this year.

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The other day I saw hundreds of Cormorants plus a few Pelican on the eastern beach.  At first I thought there had been an oil spill because the beach was just black.  Then I realised that they were hunting the schools of mullet that come through at this time of year.  Of course I didn't have my camera with me, but those Cormorants are still catching fish.

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I hope this hot weather isn't going to mean we will have a very hot summer when it comes.


A bit of reading

I have got through quite a few books over the last few weeks.  I like to sit and escape into a book before bed, as long as it is not too exciting.  If it is too exciting I read it during the day.

My sister gave me a nod to these next three books. She said they were written for young adults but I might like them.  They are by Phillip Pullman and although not the most riveting books I have read they are entertaining.  If you like fantasy and science fiction you might enjoy these books.

"Set against the dreaming spires of Jordan College and the dangerous wilderness of the frozen north, Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy offers an intoxicating blend of imagination, science, theology and adventure."

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Then another friend suggested "Flesh Wounds" by Richard Glover.

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This review on Amazon says it all.

"A mother who invented her past, a father who was often absent, a son who wondered if this could really be his family.

Richard Glover's favourite dinner party game is called 'Who's Got the Weirdest Parents?'. It's a game he always thinks he'll win. There was his mother, a deluded snob, who made up large swathes of her past and who ran away with Richard's English teacher, a Tolkien devotee, nudist and stuffed-toy collector. There was his father, a distant alcoholic, who ran through a gamut of wives, yachts and failed dreams. And there was Richard himself, a confused teenager, vulnerable to strange men, trying to find a family he could belong to. As he eventually accepted, the only way to make sense of the present was to go back to the past - but beware of what you might find there. Truth can leave wounds - even if they are only flesh wounds."

It is a bitter sweet kind of story but still very positive. An enjoyable read.

Part poignant family memoir, part rollicking venture into a 1970s Australia, this is a book for anyone who's wondered if their family is the oddest one on the planet. The answer: 'No'. There is always something stranger out there.






Not a lot of progress on the 'Days of Xmas', which is disappointing seeing I was getting on with the work.

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I have been Kogin obsessed!  I just keep thinking of new designs.  I am experimentlng with Sashiko thread and curtain fabric.

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Advanced Kogin Class

I had a most enjoyable day on Saturday past, teaching an Advanced Kogin class at the Queensland Embroiderers' Guild.

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I took my stock of threads with me so that the ladies could select their own colours to do their stitching.  I think only one person stayed with the original colours and everyone else had something different.  Some people found not stitching in a frame different and all preferred the hemp fabric to the linen I had included for a small project.

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Having a class of students who already understood the basics of Kogin Embroidery and a love of counted thread work sure made the teaching easy and enjoyable.

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Thank you ladies for a great day.