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December 2020

November 2020

Bear's Big Day!

Well now the wedding is over and all I want to do is sleep.  My husband and I left all the young ones down on the farm and drove back to our island retreat.  I was so glad to get my car on the barge.  My husband had to stop on the way back because he was so tired, so he missed the barge and had to get a ferry.

The big surprise was Bear, he really stole the weekend.  Everyone loved him.  I had to make sure he stayed on the verandahs of the house because there are lots of wild dogs and dingos in the bush around the farm and he would make an easy meal.  But every time I looked for him someone was giving him a cuddle.

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My grand daughter Jasmine just loved him and as you can see he isn't trying to get away and he and Monique are now old friends.

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My new step-grand daughter, Jemma would have kept him if she could have.

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As would my new son-in-law.

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Ever time I looked for him there he was being cuddled or just completely relaxed.

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By the time we left he was just worn out.  He slept all the way home in the car and then slept most of the next day.  I have only had him a week but he has made himself part of the family.



This week is just a mess.   Home schooling takes up most of each day and having a child in the house means that it is never clean.  Monique has ADHD, so she is constantly on the move and constantly touching things. Nothing is where it should be and there is sand through out the house.  She bought me this card for my birthday and it about says it all.

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My daughters wedding is on Saturday and I have all the catering to arrange and to travel down to Canungra for the service.  The mind boggles.

But in amongst all this , mainly when supervising lessons, I have managed to nearly finish another portrait.  This is Daphne.

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I have taken a different approach to this class lately.  I know that I can stitch portraits so I am just progressing with my own thing, working without really thinking.  For the class I am working through the exercises with the aim of learning new techniques.  Thinking about each technique and then adding what I have learnt to my own toolbox.  Hopefully this will improve my work.  Only 14 portraits to go in this series but I have so many others I would like to stitch.

A new member of the family

I  was visiting my daughter and we went to collect her wedding rings and then decided to have lunch.  It was so noisy in the shopping mall that she said we should go to a little shop in an industrial estate where the coffee and food was good.  So off we went.  When we got there it was busy, like any place that is any good can get.  We had to share a table and then another group of people arrived as well.  I saw that they were from the RSPCA and asked if they had a place near there.  Yes, just down the road.

I got the strongest feeling that I had to visit straight away.  Oh goodness, all those poor animals.  Most were so sad and a lot of them will be put down.  Then I saw 'Bear'.  A small dog, very old, 12 years, and I knew I had to have him.  Things have changed since last time I got a dog from the RSPCA.  Such a process you have to go through to check that you are a suitable owner.  There were 4 other applications in front of mine but I was chosen.

So this is Bear.

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He doesn't look like it but he is a Pomeranian and should look like this.

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They told me that someone had reported that he was neglected and he was brought in in the ambulance and his coat was in such a terrible condition that he had to be put under anaesthetic to remove his fur.  The Vet didn't think he would survive.  But, he is a bright little man and we are just getting him settled in.  So we are at the beginning of a new relationship.  I am sure there will be lots to tell.

Next portrait

For this exercise I did exactly what I was instructed to do.  I traced the picture, turning the image upside down so that I wouldn't be tempted to just sketch.  It worked.  I used stranded cotton, 2 strands for layer 1, 1 strand for layer 2 and 100wt sewing cotton for layer 3.  I also included some other stitches beside back stitch on the flowers.

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It doesn't look finished to me.  It needs a background and I think I would have made those flowers around the neckline separately and then mounted them in relief.  Still, I proved I can follow instructions.  The next classes are about stitching features such as eyes, teeth etc.  Doing exactly what is asked for might see me learning new techniques.

Cuteness over load.

I really don't have time to indulge in knitting at the moment.  It is just over a week till my daughters wedding and she is still waffling about what she will wear.  We have a day tomorrow to try and get this all under control.  I am apparently supervising the catering!  First I'd heard about it.  And then yesterday, sadly, her dog died.  We have lost three dogs this year and what with everything else going on in the world she will remember this wedding!!

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So the knitting,  Maybe when I have some spare time, if that ever will happen, I will knit these.

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I have to knit some more rabbits to put them on, although they fit some of the dolls the grand daughters have. 


I keep chipping away at my Sue Stone classes.   I must be one of the slowest students but I am learning a lot about how I stitch.  After realising  that I do not do tracing well, I then discovered that I stitch in a similar way to how I sketch.

These are some sketches I did of my sons.

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And this is how I stitched Betty.

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I use my needle and thread in the same way I use pencils.  Now I am going to try to do exactly what the lessons ask.  I am going to put my own thing in a box and just do the exercises as they are written.  Starting with tracing the photo, upside down.

Great Weekend

I had a wonderful time up at Toowoomba, as I knew I would.  Great friendships, lots of shopping and I even got some work done.

Some of the shopping was mundane, like new sleepwear.  It has to be 100% cotton, cool to wear and easy to wash.  I'm not really concerned if it is fashionable or not.

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I managed to leave my coffee mug behind up there, good thing there were 2 in the set.  Oh dear.  But when shopping I made a bee line for the throw out table  at Hanna's in the soft furnishing department and was rewarded with a mighty haul of manufacturers samples.  The sale sign said "fill a bag for $5" so I filled two.

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After removing all the hangers etc I was still left with a full bag of beautiful fabrics.

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I have just about used up all the ones I bought last time.  They were used to make needle books etc.  The needle books made gifts for my Toowoomba friends.

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I finished each one with a special hand made bead that I had bought from a man in a small village just outside of Dehli in India.  He had a small furnace and made each one by hand. 

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I am sure there are beads that are more beautiful but non that are so special.

I didn't make a lot of progress on my sewing,

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but I did work out why it was so slow.  I had added a layer of 'Insilbrite' along with the wadding to each layer.  I remember it was very hard to cut the fabric after I had quilted it, it was that metallic layer.  I ended up having to use my walking foot, enlarge the stitch length and use a 'jeans' needle to be able to sew through the layers.    I also had to double the bias binding to get it to sit properly.  I measured every thing and then found the bias binding had to be bigger on smaller depending on the thickness of the fabric I had used.  I don't think I will be finishing these any time soon.  I also gave one of my quilts to the Toowoomba Quilters 'Donation Quilts'. 

The cost of posting this to NSW plus all the border restriction made me rethink what I would do with this quilt.

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I know it will go to a good home.


This has been a huge change in my life, taking on the homeschooling of my grand daughter.  But, it is a wonderful opportunity as well.  Things have not gone as smoothly as I would like, I have had to make major adjustments in my life but having said that I love spending this time with my beautiful girl.

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We are now coming to the end of term.  Only two weeks left for me and then her mother will be on holidays and be able to take over.  Then we have to think about next year.  Both her mother and father have adjusted their work schedules so that they can be part of the process.  But I don't think they have taken into account that they need down time for themselves as well.  And, they are about to build a new home, that is going to be stressful.

My workroom now doubles as a classroom and I have had to re-organise my working space.  Monique has 'ants in her pants' and squiggles and squirms all the time.  With her ADHD sitting still is a problem.  It must have been agony for her in the school room.

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Her parents have to now keep her in homeschooling for the next two years, then she will go to high school.  I will cover three days a week and some weeks it may only be two days.  At these times she will stay on the island with us.  ( Monique told me this island should not be called Coochiemudlo, it should be called Peace.  Because that is how it makes her feel, peaceful.)  So, my days of stitching with friends at the Guild will only be on the occasional Saturday afternoon and I will have 2 days a month with my patchwork friends.  I intend to find time for my stitching like I did when I was working full time, early in the morning.  I found this very relaxing and I could face my day in a calm state.  Nights aren't too good for me as I have trouble with my eyes, so it will be early to bed.

One thing can be said, life is certainly not boring!

Off to Toowoomba for the weekend

It is time to visit friends up on the range so today I am driving up there.  Besides stitching I am going to look for something to wear to my daughter's wedding , which now is only a couple of weeks away.  I thought I would just wear something I had in my wardrobe but I think I should make a special effort for this occasion.   She and I have been shopping for something for her to wear and I did offer to make her dress.   I am rather glad she refused my offer, I don't think there is enough time left to do it justice.  But, I might just see if there is anything for her in the shops up there.  We did buy a back up dress in case we couldn't find anything she really liked, but it wouldn't be her first choice.

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As normal I have a long list of things I want to sew but I am going to restrict myself to finishing the gifts for my cottage patchwork group.  I have already started these but they need to be finished.  Our break-up party is the first week in December so it is critical I complete them.

I am so looking forward to this weekend.

What people did in lock down

I managed to catch up with my quilting buddies the other day.  We are no longer able to have our meetings at the school, so now that the numbers have been increased for people to visit your home, we have been having some morning teas together.  Quite a number of the ladies have been doing the same 'Hugs and Kisses' embroidery blocks that I have done but Chris managed to find a free class with Sue Spargo.  I missed that one.

I think that the projects came from her book Creative Stitching but the free link has now been removed.

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She only selected the circles that she wanted to stitch but even so came away with an impressive collection.  These she mounted into a fabric book.  She dyed some of her fabrics for the pages and I was impressed with her use of dyed curtain tape for the ties on the book.

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There were too many pages to include them all here but here is a selection.

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I'm kind of glad I didn't find this offering on the net.  I probably wouldn't have been able to resist it.