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September 2021

August 2021

Back to those faces

I have set my work on the portraits aside.  I don't know life kind of gets in the way.  There are so many things that need attention, all at the same time.  But I do want to get them done.  I have been looking at how other people on line are stitching them and then I thought, what if I look backwards.  A long way.  Right back to around the times of Medieval times.  There was a lot of faces stitched in the Opus Anglicanum manner.  Problem is I don't know how to do that stitching.

I have a kit in the cupboard that I bought in Bayeau, France, I haven't stitched that because I'm not sure how to do it.  Time to think about doing it.  So I open up my computer and start looking for instructions, free if possible, but I'm open to paying for the class as well.

In my list of blog links, (that is so long I rarely look at them) I found a link to . Now, I also have a HUGE photo collection of Medieval lead light windows, again mostly of faces and before I started this project was going to stitch those.  This site had lots of kits for sale, to add to ones I already have.  I loved the hounds, and have just realised where I have seen them before.

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But I suppose the ladies face would be better.

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Still, this doesn't show me how to stitch it.  So over to the blog to see what I can find.

Here I found a link to a free class on You Tube.  Great little video with clear instructions.  After I stitch this I think I might have a look at one of the classes.


I also found this 2 video set which gives a demo of the stitches you can use as well. 

I still think that I will purchase a class after this, just to get it right.




Where I live

Not being able to get out and about, most of my life seems to be centred around my home.  That is not necessarily a bad thing, just a bit different and I am sure there are a lot of other people around the world who's lives are much the same.

I had wanted to buy the house at the back of mine to move it onto another block so I could have a big garden but that didn't happen. 

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So, I have put most of my attention into the garden I have, including the patios and verandahs.


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  It is small and easy to manage and I have the bush across the road and the beach, so really I didn't need a big garden to look after.  I just wanted one.  It is a steep climb back to the house from the beach.

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Every week I collect flowers from the bush for the house.  I can't pick native plants but there are plenty of 'feral' flowers where people have dumped plants in the bush.

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I planted some more bushes to make the verandah more private and at the side of the house came upon feathers.

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My little assistant, who is my shadow alerted me to them.

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Then I noticed that the PeeWees have gone missing.  The males were always attacking their refections in the windows now they are suddenly gone.

I don't think it is the eagles, although they are always flying over.

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And I know of no cats anywhere nearby.  I suspect some of those big crows that are around are the killers.

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I suppose that is just how nature works.


The job at the moment is preparing for the AGM of the Coochiemudlo Artisans Collective.  So much paperwork!!  The meeting is next Wednesday 1st September.  As secretary I am preparing for the incorporation of the group.  It will be my job to get this task completed over the coming months.

So to other work.

I have the quilt all pinned up ready for quilting and I have lost the use of the end of my finger due to piercing it so many times.  It isn't the backing I was going to use.  After piecing most of that I realised that I had made another quilt!!!   So I went out and bought a wide backing.  I found a wide backing in the very fabric I had used in the front of the quilt.  So I bought a bit of extra metreage, I might use that to back that 'extra' quilt I made.

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I have finished the first class sample for "Exploring More Stitches".  I might restitch this one on some other fabric.  When I priced the even weave linen it was nearly $200 per metre!!!  I'm glad I used an off cut.  But even so I was shocked at the price of linen.

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And I have a long list of other things I want to start or finish but this up-coming AGM has taken over my mind.

And inspiration did strike with an idea for the applique class.  I am going to use the fruit and leaves of the Moreton Bay Fig Tree.

Preparing classes for 2022

Yes, it is that time of year again, getting the proposed classes out there.  I am not going to do the number I would usually prepare, people are not out and about like they have been and this year I have cancelled most of my classes.  I could move them on-line, this is what my friend Teena keeps urging me to do, but, I like to meet people face to face.  Old fashioned I know.

So this year I will do Kogin, Exploring Stitches, Applique and the introduction to Embroidery.  Plus I have a few small half day classes in the works.  I am hanging out for my second vaccination jab and nothing will happen until then.  We are very lucky in Queensland to have held out so long, but the Delta variant is rampant in some of the other states and will breach the border eventually.

The class which is giving me the most trouble at the moment is my Applique Class.  I renew my designs every two years and it is time for a new design.  So, I am out there surfing, just to see what others are doing.  (I have to explain that here in Australia Applique is the American version not the U.K. one.)

Two of my favourite designers are Kathy Doughty and Sarah Flieke.  Their work is a bit different.  Kathy's book Organic Applique has lots of inspiration.  Do have a look at the 'inspiration' section of her website.  It is inspirational.

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As is Sarah's new book and video, Growing Wild.  ( I see that Sarah has moved her business completely on-line.  Teena would approve.)

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Although both books are great my problem is that I try to include at least 3 different applique techniques, needle turn, freezer paper and some form of attachment of the pieces using embroidery.  Not all designs will accommodate this.  So it is back to the drawing board.  Hopefully inspiration will strike.

Moreton Bay Fig Trees

Often when I turn up for the barge or ferry they are not there.  I have knack for arriving at morning tea or lunch time, when they don't run.  I am getting better at this and if it it lunch time I will get a take-away to eat in the car while I wait.  But the car isn't a very interesting place to sit so I have been driving down the dead end streets that run off the main road that goes to the jetty just to see where they lead. 

Whilst doing this I found a small park at the end of one of these little roads and it sits at the waters edge. It only has a garbage bin and one seat but it has a beautiful Moreton Bay Fig tree to sit under.  (My husband looks like a bushranger with his mask on.)

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The same kind of tree that was in my book 'Memorial", but this one is only a teenager.  I shouldn't have been surprised because we live right on Moreton Bay but you don't see many of these giants around.  There are some here and there but like all fig trees they have invasive roots and most people do not have gardens big enough to accomodate them. This teenager spreads its branches across the width of three properties.

The trunk of this one has seen better days.  It looks like someone started a fire here, but it survived.

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The birds have dropped seeds of the umbrella tree that have sprouted at the base and up in the branches.

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The sunlight seen through the leaves is like a painting.

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The fruit hasn't ripened as yet.  I will have to check if it you eaten by the indigenous people that lived here.  It has such a huge crop you would think so.

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It was low tide when I took these pictures.  At high tide the water come right to the edge of the grass.  You look out over what some consider just a mud flat but there is lots of sea grass that extends far out.  No wonder we have Dugong living here.

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This will definitely be where I will sit whilst I wait for the barge in future.

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New Book

Maybe  I am still a kid but I love this book for children called Memorial by Gary Crew and Shaun Tan.

Screen Shot 2021-08-16 at 2.50.42 pmThis story is set in a small country town where a tree was planted besides a war memorial and in later years it became a traffic hazard and the decision was taken by the local council to cut it down.  At some points in the book there is no script just an illustration, but this says more than words can.  Like the painting on the cover.  For me this tree is like many Moreton Bay Fig trees that were planted in lots of school yards around Australia.  It brings back so many memories, even that painting of the fruit says so much to me. 

I used to teach with Gary, long ago when he was working towards becoming a famous author and I love Shaun Tan's work.  So this is a special book.


Well as you can see from the last couple of posts I am drawing patterns for new embroideries.  I haven't been able to put my mind to this for ages but that Japanese fabric gave me so many ideas.  Then, I walk the dog twice a day and this takes me through the bush.  I never actually 'saw' some of the things that have now claimed my attention.  Amazing what one little thing can start.

So I am working on another small embroidery, this time of some gum leaves.  I was taken by the fact that the colours were the same as some thread that I had in my thread box, this is a Stef Francis thread.  The leaves are just gum leaves but the shapes and colours caught my attention.  It may not work out, but I will give it a try.

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My knitting is still here.  It has been unpulled and re- knitted a number of times but now I am up to the sleeves.  As the weather is on the turn I think this will be for next winter, so I have made it a little larger.

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And I'm still working on the backing for the quilt.   I have to use the left over fabric so it will be almost another quilt!

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More Flowers

At this time of year the gum trees are in bloom, a bit too much in bloom. There are seeds and flowers all over the place.  Especially on my newly washed car!!

I hadn't realised just how many types of wattle flowers there are until I started to look.  They don't all flower at the same time, rather one comes out then another.  The bright splashes of yellow in the bush catch your attention.  Looking closely I can see that they have different leaves and flower formations, it is just the bright yellow that is consistent.  The one I am looking at now is more like a finger of flowers rather than the little puff balls you usually see.  The green of the leaves is a lot darker than some of the others, but they all say spring.

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So here is another little embroidery of this variety of wattle.  I have used Danish flower thread for the stems and flowers and DMC stranded cotton, 2 strands for the leaves, to stitch it onto a small piece of 32 count linen.  I will include this design in a class I will be teaching later on this year "Discovering more Stitches" for the Embroiderers Guild.  Again, this design was inspired by that Japanese fabric.  (In fact there is nothing like it on the fabric it just sent my brain in this direction.)

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But, is such a nice small design, approx 3"x3", I thought I would  include it here.

  Download Japanese fabric designs - wattle




Some flowers from my garden and some to stitch

Blooms are just busting out all over the place.  The weather has been so pleasant and I was able to pick some flowers to decorate the house.

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My collegues gave me the Royal Doulton ornament when I retired.  It is a gift that keeps on giving.  I planted the Freesia bulbs over 20 years ago in the banks at the back of the beach at the front of the island.  Now they just spring up every year for everyone to enjoy and the perfume is beautiful as is that of the lavender.

I have been busy drawing flowers as well, inspired by that Japanese fabric.  I think these would work a number of ways.  Enlarged, to make an applique or stitched in wool or this size or smaller in regular stranded cotton.   I have enclosed a free downloadable PDF.Screen Shot 2021-08-13 at 3.52.13 pm Download Japanese fabric designs - large flowers