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March 2021


We went into lock-down again on Monday night.  There was a mad dash to get Monique back home after school finished so that she wouldn't be stranded over here.  They have closed all the schools a week early for the Easter Holidays so it just isn't the 3 days of lock-down only, and, now that they are finding extra cases it could be longer.

So, I find myself with a bit of extra time and am not sure what I will do with it.  I had been putting off starting the Sue Stone class on incorporating Applique.  After I watched it I realised there was nothing new for me, I have been doing all forms of applique for years, in fact I even teach classes in it.  I should have known when I came to that realisation that I was over-confident.  Sue's use of applique is deceptively simple at first glance.  I made the mistake of thinking "no problem" when in fact there were problems.

With normal applique you start at the bottom and build up.  I tried that and it didn't work.  With her method you stitch first and then add the appliqued pieces and then stitch on them again.  So I have had to rip everything out and am starting again.

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I wanted to put in a background first but that just didn't sit well with the figure, which is my other grand-daughter Jasmine at her 2nd birthday.  Looking at it now I think I will have to stitch the background and applique the hair, her shorts and nappie along with the birthday cake for it to work.  The photo I had is a bit smaller then the space on the fabric and I haven't quite enlarged the eyes correctly but that can be fixed.

Back then her hair was so fine and she used to cry and say how terrible it was because Monique and Mummy had such lovely thick hair.  Now she is 8 years old her hair is thick and lovely.  I am stitching this one for a gift for Mother's Day for my daughter-in-law.  I have already finished one of her sister at the same age, although I might add more to this one.

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Result of the wet weather

There is little dry material for the birds to make their nests but nest building continues.

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This little next fell out of a tree this morning and is very new as can be seen by the green leaves.

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I didn't have any flowers to show the scale but I have plenty of weeds!

I'm not sure if this nest/trap has been made by ants or spiders but it is at just the right height to walk into!

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The weather report says there is still more rain to come.

Wierd Bag

I thought I was making a draw string bag from the small embroidery I made for the Guild but the embroidery was bigger than I thought.  I ended up making tote bag.

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It became a series of decisions about how can I fix this?  I sewed the border around the embroidery and then had to find a fabric that matched it.  Problem was it was a bit light in weight which would have been fine for a drawstring bag but by this stage it was too big for that.  So I added a interfacing to bulk up the weight and a lining to extend the top.  Next problem was the straps, I only had beige which didn't look right. Solution, stitch it with purple thread.

Actually, even though it isn't perfect it isn't too bad.

Juvenile Behavour

I know it is juvenile behavour but it is just how I feel at the moment. 

It has been 6 months now of home-schooling my grand daughter and there have been so many highs but her ADHD behavours have worn me down.  She is on the move all the time, she has "ants and her pants."  She touches everything without even realising that she is doing it.  I think that I have put things out of reach and then I find she has pulled them out of the draws and they are on the floor.

Added to this I have had to give up my space in my workroom to give her somewhere to learn, she also sleeps in this room at night because she is afraid in the downstairs bedrooms and I am not prepared to give up my bedroom for her.  Whilst she is here I can only do hand sewing and sewing at night is no longer possible.  That is so limiting.  I was looking forward to some time over Easter on my own but my husband has invited the family to stay.

I found her turning the pages of my diary and although it is only a record of appointments, IT IS MINE.  Added to this the covers I have for the diary are too small and I have to secure them with elastic.  Solution, make a new cover using some recycled fabrics.

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I wanted to write "DON'T TOUCH" all over it.  Instead I took a photo of myself and the word "MINE"

Screen Shot 2021-03-25 at 10.48.59 amI then embroidered this, making the expression on my face a bit hard, and put it on the front cover.  (Gee it is hard to stitch small faces.)  I made the lining the same colour as my ear-rings, you can see it peeping out at the bottom.

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Such juvenile behavour, but I enjoyed it.  I hope it keeps her away from it.


The weather

It is raining.  Not just raining, pouring cats and dogs.  It is non stop and has been like this for 5 days.  Even the frogs have sort refuge on the upper floors of the house.

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I am glad it is only frogs.  Down south they are having the same rain and there it is spiders heading to the higher floors of buildings.

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Photo source: Matt Lovenfosse

I haven't seen any snakes as yet but I have shut all the doors just in case.


What am I doing?  Well I sketched up my next portrait but I'm not sure I have quite caught her likeness.

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And so I am looking at it. 

Whilst I am looking at it I am stitching a couple of blocks that I was asked to stitch for the Guild and then make into bags.

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Oh boy, this simple stuff is so labour intensive!  That little block, 5"x5", took 12 hours of intensive stitching and I still have a second one to do

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To make it a bit more interesting I tried to limit the number of stitches I used.  Still it was a bit boring to stitch.  I will be more careful of what I offer to stitch in future.

The Next Portrait

I have one more portrait to go in the series of those that have left the group and that is Gail.

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I will use the same approach as I have used with Jean and Margaret.  But, I still have a whole lot of other ladies who are still part of the group and my mind keeps saying " Oh that would work well".  What I think would work well would be birds.  Here are some I am considering.

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But then there are some others I like as well, especially this one of an embroiderer sitting in the markets in Guatamala selling her skills to embellish the traditional skirts. It is almost a medieval scene.

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And talking of Medieval what about all those faces I photographed from stained glass windows I saw in England?  The list goes on and on.


Back on Deck

Well that was the week that was!  I got to Tuesday and wasn't so well.  I had a specialist appointment on Wednesday that ended up with me in hospital.  It turns out it is metabolic, so not a lot they can do, just wait and see.  But I did get to finish my portrait of Margaret.

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Margaret actually emailed me and told me her hair was dark at that time, so I stitched it dark around the edge and lighter where the street light was reflected.  The colours I choose were blue and grey and I added a little green/grey and yellow for the ear ring.  The pattern in the background took a lot of stitching, along with the hair.  I wanted a regular/irregular pattern.  I made part of it a strict count and then distorted it a bit the way light can distort an image but not enough to take away from that regular look. I took the blue in the design in her top and put this into the pattern.

All those years ago Margaret stitched me a beautiful block for my friendship quilt and I wanted this portrait to reflect my appreciation for the amount of work she had put into it.

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There were only 3 or 4 of us who were embroiderers in the group everyone else specalised in patchwork and quilting. So, this block stands out from the others.

Thanks Margaret.

Where I live

Coming home the other night we arrived at the jetty when all the flying foxes set off from their nests and headed too the bay islands to feed on the fruit trees.

When the first star appeared It started with one or two animals in the sky.

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Then the flood gates opened.

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They seemed to go on forever.  Lots of food here for the carpet snakes.



Most of the work this week has been on my foundation piecing.  I tried the Butterfly block that I want to put into the quilt.

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There is a problem.  The block is smaller.  It had to be smaller to fit onto an A4 piece of paper for printing.  So I added a border, which I don't like.

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Next step has been to re-chart the three blocks.  i have just made the background blocks bigger but kept the butterflies the same size.  I think I will like this better.

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I could have done this in my drawing program but the finished block is bigger than the paper in my printer.

I have also been working on my current portrait.  I am still not confident with rendering hair but this is a bit of an improvement.  Still a lot to go on this piece.

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