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June 2022

Another Heirloom

As part of my recovery I have set myself the task of cleaning out 2 drawers, or shelves, in my kitchen each day.  Most are not even untidy but the routine of taking all the contents out of the draw and then cleaning every corner is a soothing activity.  Whilst doing this I am discarding everything that is surplus or no longer needed, someone else can benefit from my excess.

But, odd thing are turning up, like my grandmother's sweet making thermometer.

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Now I know you can buy digital thermometers these days but this one comes with the 'crack' of each type of toffee engraved beside the relevant digit.

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When I showed my husband the first thing he said was "Oh good, you can make me some peanut brittle".

You know, I just might.

New Book

As I mentioned yesterday, I am finding it hard to rule a line under the teaching part of my life and move on.  I think being so ill this last time has made me see that it is inevitable, but, it is still hard.  It is so much of my identity and purpose in life.  So, I went looking for advice from friends, which didn't help much, and then I came on this book by Joan Chittister.

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A very insightful book and a good meditation for any one who is facing retirement or just growing older.    I bought a Kindle copy but you can purchase it as a paperback or hard back book.


I find that my recovery from my last illness is slow.  I have a feeling it is all the drugs they gave me.  However, time and tide wait for no one so I am working at assembling the kits for my last teaching workshop.  I am teaching "machine finishing for embroiderers" in this class and I am finding it hard to draw a line under what has been a large part of my life for nearly 40 years.

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I am 'thinking about' making it into a series of videos.  I personally think it is rather basic but my past students tell me it is one of the most helpful classes they have ever done, so we will see.

And there was another bear given to a friends grand daughter.  Glad to say she loves him.

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Trying to avert a disaster.

I made a hexigon quilt back when my daughter was still at school.  Every saturday I would watch her play soccer and hand stitch hexigons.  I forgot about how many I stitched and in the end had enough for a Queen sized quilt.  I had it on the bed in the guest bedroom and it has always been one of my favourties.

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When we sold the house I put it on my bed in the townhouse.  My daughter was living there doing her PHd at the time and unbeknown to me her dog, Chester, must have got into my room and slept on my bed.  Trouble is he didn't only sleep, he peed on my quilt.   I didn't discover this until last week when the weather turned cold and I got the quilt out to put on the bed  in town.  There was this terrible yellow stain on my quilt.

Chester has been dead for a few years now, so the quilt has sat in the draw 'fermenting'.  I brought it home to the island to try and rescue it.  I started with washing, no difference, then soaking, but, no difference, I added bleach, no difference.   Finally I made a paste of bleach and Sarb fabric stain remover and painted it onto the white fabric, not the floral.  Now, it hasn't taken all the stain out and if you look closely you can see it but I think I have saved the quilt.

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I didn't realise how attached to this quilt I am.  I had always thought of it being handed on as a heirloom and all that hand stitching!

I bet Chester is saying, "What me?"

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(Still love you Chester.)



I now have my art space properly set up on my patio. (Along with all my housekeeping tools.)

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Matting, in case of spills and a thick plastic cover on the removable table top along with a small set of drawers to keep my art things separate. (I think I might get a second one of those.)  Bear likes the mats I have outside the doors so I got some proper door mats as well. (Finally got some roses.) What I also need is a blind as the sun can be hot, this is a problem when using inks in printing.

And printing, I have been using my gelli plate.  I have started on water-colour paper to test the process.  Lots to learn about how this all works.

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But I learnt some tricks along the way already and with a bit more work I will be able to use all these pieces, probably in cards and I want to try machine embroidery on some of them.

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I auditioned this last one to see how it might look for one of my book covers.

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With addition of ribbons, lace, buttons and embroidery it shows promise.  Now I have to try and replicate it on fabric.  I have a whole collection of old laces and ribbons, along with lots of old pieces of embroidery from my travels all around the world. Non of the embroidery is very useable on it's own but could be used in this kind of collage.

Just to do something different I also designed a new Kogin pattern for my pin and needle keepers.

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The printing on fabric is my next goal.



It is so good to be home and surrounded with my own things and peace and quiet of the island.  To watch the sun come up.

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And the quiet of early evening.

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I have been back in hospital, again.  Big rush with the ambulance this time but when I got home my blood pressure returned to normal and I felt so blessed to have this wonderful place to return to.  I found roses on the kitchen table to greet me,

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And just looking at them helped me feel so much better.

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My illness isn't life threatening, if I can get treatment quickly.  This time it was slow in coming.

So, I intend to just rest, read, paint, crochet and a little stitching for this week.


I knew it could happen.

All that crocheting and the arrival of a very cold winter (0 degrees C) has seen my wrist taken over with rheumatoid arthritis.  I knew it might hit me and I was hoping to get the throw finished but I have had to stop, 1.5 rows from the end.  If I don't stop now it will get worse.  If I do stop now there is a chance it will go away.  I know it is lurking there just waiting for me to make a mistake.  So no action at all.  It is an autoimmune problem and my niece has it as well, although she has had to give up all her art work, and she worked as an artist she can't hold a brush or even a pencil.

So quite a bit of walking and photography.  I'm storing up design ideas for the future.  Years ago I came across the native hibiscus tree that grows on the edges of the beaches on the island.  Their flowers are lovely.

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The flowers drop onto the sand and change colour.  A run of these scattered on the sand is a lovely sight.

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But there is a beetle that eats the leaves and flowers leaving every thing looking rather raggie.

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This is a 'jewel beetle' which is rather stunning in it's own right.

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I have never seen them on this end of the island before.

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Maybe it isn't them that eat the leaves because they are always found on the seed pods.

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These ones aren't as bright as the ones on the northern end of the island but still, great colours.  I can see these done as stump work.

That bright red on the underside is very striking.

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I remember making a small quilt that featured those flowers.  I wonder what I did with that?


Where I live

The window in my sewing room looks out onto the patio.  This is a sun trap in winter and a lovely place to sit and stitch or knit.  My dream would be to have climbing roses growing up the posts and all over the railings.  But I live in the sub-tropics and roses just don't grow very well here.  What will grow is Bouganvillia, so I have planted some of that.  Now, I wasn't sure just how it was going to take but it is now starting to cover my railings.

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The view out the window is improving.  It has taken over a year to get to this stage and it has no perfume, unlike roses.

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It still has to be trained into position but this is a start.

The big drawback are the huge thorns on the branches, they can ripe your arm open.  They make rose thorns look like midgets.  I bought a purple variety to plant at the other end of the patio.

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So now I am on the look out for other coloured varieties.  I have seen a lovely mauve one in a local garden but haven't spotted one in a nursery as yet.  I had a wonderful climbing rose in Cairns, which is in the tropics.  Just couldn't get it to grow here.




New Book

I bought this book on a whim and it doesn't really tell me anything I don't already know.

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It is by Tilly Rose and it is a nice book. (see a preview here.)  But I know all these techniques and I was looking for some more inspiration for my own work.  But, I have a friend who would love it so I have bought a gift for a friend and I know lots of other people who would love it as well.