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October 2019
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December 2019

November 2019

Next Week

Next week sees that start of Advent and we will be into the mainstream of the Xmas parties and social crush.  I hope the next few days go slowly so that I can just float into this.  Not much hope I think.  The parties start this Sunday night and then it is just full on from then onto the new year and beyond.  I have made sure that I have stocked up on 'ginger thins'.

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I am expecting droves of visitors and of course this includes family so there will be no peace with grand children in the house.  All 'the paddlers' will soon walk up the bank from the beach with "just thought we would drop in" and the replies of "of course you must stay we have tons of food and blow up beds"

We have been replacing the fences which fell down because the white ants got into them.  My husband insisted on metal mesh that was coated against rust and was impervious to white ants. I have bought lots of creepers, mainly Jasmine, to grow over them.  We have had a progression of tradesmen here working on it and I have been baking for "smokos".  But something happened to the no parking sign out the front.  It was replaced recently but now it has a distinct bend in it and of course no one knows anything about it.

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We also have a tree next to the road that has been run into, yet again.  After my husband flattened the mail box and then ran into that tree I put a reflector on it.  It doesn't seem to matter people, nobody knows who, still run into it. 

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So it is time to crawl under the house where the Xmas decorations are stored and pull them out.  The grandchildren will be here on Saturday so I will put them to work decorating the tree and trimming the house.

Here we go again.

New Book - Lady in Waiting

There is no way this will not be made into a movie.  If not by a film maker it is perfect for Netflix.

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I just have not been able to put it down.  It is sad, funny, almost surreal and I have a feeling it is real and written without guile.  Having seen the author in TV documentaries I can hear her speaking the words she has written.  The Guardian has a review of the book which I found the reviewers perspective interesting.

It is about a way of life past, that has it's roots back in the time of the Tudors. It is interesting to reflect on the shadow that the past projects into the future.


My husband thinks it would be a good idea if I could make his Xmas cards for this year so my little bit of enjoyable stitching is being transformed into a production line.

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As yet he hasn't given me a list of how many he wants.  I wait with baited breath!

Koala Mittens

Once again I have over estimated my abilities to complete a project.  I think I need to use that "divide by 2" rules I spoke about when I was making the placemats.

Believe it or not there is a lot of work in these mittens.  Having to sew "french seams" added more work than you could imagine.  The other thing was the woollen ties.  Just using wool wasn't heavy enough so I had to crochet the wool for the ties.

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I was going to sew a hem on each mitten but decided that pinking the edges was a better alternative.  (It might have been easier to pink all the edges and have this on the outside and do away with the French seams.)

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Then I had two grand daughters visit who decided that they need to write messages on the mittens to help the Koalas get better quicker.

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"How about Grandma, that you make enough so everyone in my class could write a Koala a message?"  Says the 6 year old

Trial of Food Throw

So I have finished the first trial of Debbie's Food Throw and it looks really good.  With Xmas coming I can see it being really handy.

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Why Xmas?  Well we have lots of uninvited guests visiting our Xmas tables in the form of those horrible flys.  You normally appoint a kid to keep waving them off.  In my mother's generation they had lovely food throws that were made of organza and beautifully embroidered but you had to keep them in place because the wind would lift them.  They were mainly made for afternoon tea tables served inside the house or on the verandah. This design of Debbie's overcomes all those disadvantages and it isn't expensive to make plus it is sturdy enough to be used at the BBQ.  (Although it is not a 5 minute wonder, it does take some time and there are sections that do exercise the brain matter.)

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This model has cheap, fairly course, netting in the middle.  I bought mine from Spotlight for $2.50 a metre.  All the edges are pieced from scraps, although I did use left over fabric that I could have used for other things, and it is pieced over quilters wadding that makes those edges heavy enough not to lift.  Debbie has given me permission to write a tutorial for this so I will put it together from the next one I make and post it here in the next few days.

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Keeping Cool

 I am trying to stay in the airconditioning.  The fires are still burning all over the place and the air is heavy with smoke.  I see it has even found it's way across the Tasman to N.Z.!  One thing it has done is give us some spectacular vistas.  (I never realised how difficult it is to take a photo of the sun.)  This shot was taken at about 3:30pm that reflection on the water is unreal.

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I walked up the beach from the jetty where this was taken.  The white heat of the sun is what the camera captures but that red around the edges is what the eye sees.

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I ran into a couple of French backpackers who were also trying to get shots.  They had come down the bank, which is about 12 metres high, nearly having a nasty accident.  The actual path was only a few metres away.

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I am now setting up my sewing room to sew mittens for koalas.  The notice on facebook said that patchwork fabric was just the thing they needed to be made of.

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So I am aiming for 50 pairs.  Hope I can do that this weekend.

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Re- reading

Every year since my early 20's, when I first read this book, I re-read "Lord of the Rings". (I have a beautiful book that is printed on rice paper which I bought back in the 1970's)

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This came about after a chance meeting with Donald Swann, who told me he re-read the book every September.  This video is a Doctoral Lecture on Donald Swann and at 41mins there is a very good performance of his Tolkien song cycle, (if you are interested).


At first I just re-read it to fill in the details I had missed, then for the beautiful use of language .  I find at every reading I find some expressions I have overlooked.   Then I became interested in where the story came from, which led me to old Ango-Saxon history, poems and finally "Riddles".  I now find that others find this equally interesting and have found a blog, "The riddle ages", that deals with this.  (here is a very good introduction to Riddles.)  I can see this turning into an obsession.  I know there is lots out there about textiles and embroidery as well.

Screen Shot 2019-11-20 at 10.19.25 amI think I will keep to riddles for now.



I am in the middle of trialing a new patchwork design by my friend Debbie. 

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But all I really seem to be doing is making a mess.  I have pieces of fabric all over the work room.  Some lined up on the bench.

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Lots draped over chairs.

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And I have finally come to the conclusion that 3 doesn't divide evenly into 46.  I have misread the instructions somewhere.  I even went out and bought a larger cutting mat for my work table thinking this was the problem.

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I am going to read it all again and draw it up on the computer to rework those measurements.


My son Guy, had a significant birthday recently.  But, at this time he was in Dallas in the USA so we had to postpone the celebrations.  He was gutted because he thought no one had remembered his big day.  Then there was the big surprise party.  Everything changed over night.  The date of the party was the day before my own birthday and I thought this would be a non event and added to this I was ill again so I had to cancel the breakfast they had arranged or I just wouldn't have got to Guy's party.

But, my daughter had this amazing cake made for me.  Enough cake to feed an army!  Mine was Strawberry Mud Cake, (Guy had a chocolate soccer ball for his.)

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All those flowers are real and it took some time to get the sugar off them.  I just couldn't put them in the bin.

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It was made by  lots of eye candy here and on her Instagram site.

I woke very early on my special day to the smell of fresh smoke.  With all these fires on the mainland I was quick to get outside to make sure we were not on fire.  But it was just smoke and you couldn't see your hand in front of your face.  I went down to the beach and people walking towards me looked like zombies coming through the smoke haze.  For the first time in 2 years I went for a swim, but there was ash on top of the water and washed up on the beach.  Still, this was a red letter day.  I can now swim again.

The ABC put up these photos taken 3 days apart, the first two of the same location, of some of the areas that are ablaze. 

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And this one near one of the towns.  No wonder there is so much ash and smoke and I am on danger alert.  Moreton Island, which is just to the north of us is now burning out of control after a lightening strike.   The local council has been around to make sure we all have disaster plans in place as well.

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So to celebrate my husband and I took a drive up to Redcliffe, a couple of hours away, to have a glass of wine and a fresh fish lunch at Morgan's.  Oh the taste of really fresh seafood is just so good.  We sat out by the marina to eat our lunch and as you can see the sky is gray and hazy with the smoke.

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This didn't stop the seagulls annoying us.

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There is something about eating seafood and having a seagull to annoy you.

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I didn't realise that there was a huge storm about to break on us.  The weather report keeps saying there will be no rain but looking on the radar I saw 2 storms coming our way and we were right in the middle of them.  Rain, I haven't seen it for ages and the thunder, lightning and hail were fierce.   We were just on the edge of the storm a few miles further north trees were ripped from the ground and cars and property damaged.  Most of the seagulls disappeared but some stayed tucking in their butts and putting their beaks into the rain.

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The cormorants took up positions up at the top of the rigging on the fishing boats.

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It rained so heavily that we got flooded out and had to move to higher ground.

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But the air was breathable and it was lovely and cool.  I had a great birthday.

Thinking about Xmas

I thought I might start on some SIMPLE Xmas cards that I could just sit and stitch and enjoy the process.

I looked up the DMC free patterns and found a snowflake design that suited my purpose just fine.

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I know there are far more detailed patterns than this but I just want to put together a group of simple cards as I know that most of them will end up in the bin after Xmas. So, I used my new DMC Diamant threads and stitched these cards.  I used a patchwork fabric that I had in my stash and then stitched with a whipped back stitch to give them definition.  They took about 1 hour each to complete.

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They are not super fancy but they are fun to stitch and will make a nice addittion to each Xmas gift.