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April 2021

My machine is back

Back before last Xmas I took my sewing machine in for repairs.  I had blown the mother board when a gekko got into the fuse box.  I just haven't been confident enough to sew on it since, but, the time has come.  It took most of the day to find all the bits but now it is ready to sew on. 

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I have to make some box bags for my quilting group and as I'm not sure just what size to make so a few proto-types are called for. Now this isn't as easy as it seems because I want to incorporate those little embroideries.  Firstly I need to sew all the 2.5" patches together.  I am using a small charm pack of Tilda's "woolands" range.

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Then I need to work out the pattern size around this.  But for now it's learning to use the machine again and I intend to pull out the power cord every time I stop stitching.

Boy it's hard to start!


A bit early for Xmas but....

I know it is a but early for Xmas but yesterday I dropped into my local Patchwork shop to get some more sewing needles.  I don't know why but the eyes of the needles keep getting smaller!!!  Whilst there I saw this fabric which will make great little drawstring bags for Xmas.

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Cuteness overload.  I thought about them for the children and then thought that I know lots of adults that would like them as well.  There was also a print fabric to match this, so that went into the bag as well.

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(Some of those designs in the background would work well in fly stitch.  I will have to have a go at that.)   And I did get the needles.



I have thought of another way to use that plethora of botanical drawings that I made.  I have enlarged the drawings slightly and am going to put them into a zippered pouch that I will make from 2.5" squares.  Alternating the embroidery with patchwork fabric.  I think placement of the embroidery in the final piece is going to be the part that will take the most effort.

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The other thing I have been experimenting with is making some paper.  My daughter needs cards to enclose with her leather work.  For a first try I am quite pleased.

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I used recycled paper as my base and then dried leaves and flowers to go into it.

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Finally, a good book

I have finally found a good book to read.  Donna Leon's new book "Transient Desires"

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I'm trying to slow my reading pace to make it last longer, without a lot of success.  I notice that although not mentioned, the virus has had an impact on Venice in this story.  Fewer tourists and tour boats.  Nothing about how the virus has spread in the city.  That might form part of the next book.  But, there is an edge to this book I haven't felt in the other 20 something books.  This one is about people trafficing.  I will say no more than that the story will speak for itself.

The Easter Visit

Unfortunately my Easter visitors brought a flu like virus to the island when they came and I am now in bed, and could be for a week or so more.  I thought it might be something worse but I read on one of my embroidery sites that this was going around Brisbane.  So here I lay, or sit, or just mope around.  I have picked up my knitting again to fill in the time, (when I'm not sleeping). 

When I knitted by guage square I found I needed a larger set of needles, which I didn't have, but I did find some needles I had put aside for the grand daughters for them to learn to knit.  The happy (grumpy) faces of these little dogs brighten my day.

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I might have to get some more!


I have just accepted all the lock-downs and restrictions of COVID but in the last few days have come to understand just how heartbreaking this can be for families.  The separation, the inability to touch on another, the lack of being able to to there.

My neighbours, Simon and Jane have become good friends since we moved to the island.  Simon was a retired academic from Oxford University in England and he and Jane married after they had nursed their former partners until they passed.  Both had had long and difficult illnesses and both had grown children from their previous marriages.  Simon and I would have long discussions on literature, music, life in Norfolk and other shared interests.  They would host music concerts in the breeze way of their house which were lively and enjoyable.

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Even the bird-life would turn up to take part.

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At the gate of their house they have a seagull sitting on the fence to welcome you.

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At the beginning of 2020 Simon was diagnosed with a terminal illness and as the borders were closed he was unable to travel back home and his children could not come here.  We still kept up our conversations as I have watched his health deteriorate.  He had been a man who was involved in life.  When our friend published a children's story book he dressed up as a wizard and had the children enchanted with his reading.  He really looked the part with his long white hair.

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All those little faces, spellbound.

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Even the statues seemed to be listening.

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Yesterday he died.  He was unable to return home, unable to see his family, unable to get a zoom connection to see and talk to them.   He was able to get a phone connection so did get to say good bye at least, but my heart aches for him and his daughters, not being able to return home and see and touch them.

I will always see him playing his banjo, with his cap that he always wore.

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Now the seagull at the gate wears the cap.

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R.I.P. my friend.

In bed again

I am having a flair-up of my condition again so have been laid low.  But in the middle of this I had some good news.  My grand niece, my sister’s grand daughter, came to Q’ld.  to compete in the National SURF life saving championships. Skye is in an Olympic training development squad for NSW’s and is a excellent competitor,  she also has her sights set on becoming an iron woman.

She is also now the Junior Surf Swimming Champion of Australia.

Had herself interviewed for the national news.

‘And her family are super proud of her.

It will be interesting to see how she progresses.  Two of my children were national junior champions in their sports but neither wanted to carry on with competing.

I nice touch was that the whole street where the family lives turned out to congratulate her when they got home.


The recent rains has seen an explosion of fungi on the island.  Some I have never seen before and some are familiar.  These ones were all over the place.

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I think these were related.

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and these were so unusual.

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Some plants must have been dumped here at the side of the road and have now taken over.

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There  has been so much rain that even a block of grass can look good.

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Home gardens are flourishing.

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Even the statues in the gardens seem to like the rain.

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I suppose it fits the cycles of "droughts and flooding rains."




The finished sample

These little embroideries were a joy to stitch.  Adding the muslin as a stabalizer is something I picked up from the Sue Stone classes and I have now made it part of my everyday stitching.

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I have worked my way through the whole class.  This always allows you to find out where the gremlins live and what extra things you might need to include.  I found that marking the dots around the outer edge came in very handy for mounting the embroidery over the backing piece.  I also added that batting to the mounding board and an happy with the result.

I choose the snow drop for the one I made up.

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I found the little screws in the frame very hard to manipulate so a pair of plyers is essential.  I must say I am tempted to make up all 4 designs but that would cut into the number of frames I have for the class.  Another reason to order some more.

Not a good week

I think I will just give up on this week or was it last week as well?

I got to my Quaker exhibition only to find they had closed it early due to work being done to the library.  After all I had to do to get there it was very disappointing.  I have the 1.5 to 2 hour drive to town to start with then because I haven't traveled by public transport for the last year they had taken all my money off my card.  I tried to top it up on the bus but was told all that has changed.  I then had to find somewhere to put some money on the card.  (It is just too expensive to park in town.)  Then when I got there, no exhibition.

The next thing was I have had to have 2 teeth extracted.  I had two root canal treatments about 8 months ago and now my body just rejected them so out they had to come.  The Dentist could find nothing wrong with the teeth at all, still, I have to admit I feel a whole lot better once they came out.  Shame about the $3,000+ that I had spent on the treatments.

The good thing is that now that those teeth have gone my mind is working again.  (Don't ask me what the link was I just don't know.)  I am in the middle of preparing a new class and am really enjoying the process.  Because it will be for beginners from outside of the Embroiderers' Guild and I already teach a class for new members, I had to come up with something different.   It is about learning the basic stitches but I wanted a project that gave them something finished to take away.  My solution was to settle on a set of 4 designs that can be stitched  in the allotted time.  I have actually drawn more designs than the four needed so that there is a lot of choice.  I have put the designs into my drawing program and put different colours behind each design.  Although I am using white cotton/linen fabric I think these could look good on a variety of fabrics.  (I see there is one circle outline I didn't cut after I added the fill colour, oops.)

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I got a bit carried away with drawing botanical things and have another two pages of designs.  They are only small, in circles of about 2.5" or a bit less.  I found I could fit 4 designs on a 6"x6" square of fabric.  I backed this with a fine muslin and tacked the two pieces of fabric together, put this into a frame and stitched.

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Because they are small they are quick to stitch and I am really enjoying this stitching.  When the students have finished this they will choose their favourite and then mount it in a mini-frame to use as is, or as a piece of jewelry.

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I think that I might glue a piece of thin wadding onto the backing board before it is mounted as well and I also think I had better buy some more of these frames because I could just keep stitching.