Books Feed


I have been following Rachel's progress on her foot stool done in canvas work on her blog.  I used to do a lot of canvas work but got bored with it.  Now I think I would like to stitch a piece.  At the Embroiderers' Guild they have a huge selection of threads for this kind of work on the sale table, so I can get the thread cheap and I'm sure I must have some canvas in my stash.  Next step was what would I stitch?

I found a colouring book on-line from 1615.  It was originally written for glaziers and plasterers but I'm sure some of these patterns would work.  (These are the kind of things one finds on in the Internet Archive.)

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There is a design index at the beginning setting out all the designs as thumbnails.

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Then these are expanded to full page prints later and there are some interesting designs that could work.

Screen Shot 2021-01-26 at 2.05.47 pmIt also has some recipes for mixing colours that come with the warning that these might be dangerous, still, it is interesting to read how it was done back then.

Screen Shot 2021-01-26 at 1.52.14 pmI intend to have a play around with these designs and see what I can come up with.

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.

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.

The next book

This book has come to me via my husband.  It is part of a group of book and is the first in a series.  It is non fiction and is about the 'songlines' that are found in the knowledge storing of all first nation peoples.

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I am finding it instructive and it explains so much about the culture of our aboriginal people.  For me, it continues a learning that began in my childhood.  Let me explain.  The name of my grandparents home and now my home was 'Lumeah. ' This is an aboriginal word that translate, 'peaceful place' or 'place of rest'.  My three times great grandfather on my mother's fathers side of the family, took up land in NSW in the early 1800's and the aboriginal people who actually owned this land became his friends.  This was their name of the land where his farm sat.  I was visiting Stradbroke Island recently and there was a park there with the same name.  I was told the name came from that same tribe that my forebear knew who had cultural links with the Stradbroke people.  That is over 2,000km of travel south.  All knowledge, science, law, stories etc.,  was linked to the land and shared across the continent for over 65,000 years.  It wasn't just religious knowledge but all knowledge and it was transmitted orally through story, song, dance and art.  This way of holding and transmitting knowledge is common to all first nation peoples.  It is only about 2,000 years since all of my ancestors belonged to this group. It follows that there is much I can learn from this.  But, it is not a novel it is non fiction so others may not find it as interesting as me.


How does this happen?  I write about the Dior fashion show and low and behold, I have a new book about Catherine Dior!

The book is a novel around the life of Catherine Dior, sister of the designer, and her work in the French  Resistance during WW2.

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It is a novel, so I'm sure there is a bit of artistic license has been taken with the facts, but, it is a good story.  The description of what happens in a fashion show is spot on, so good it took me back to my time working in the industry.  If you are looking for an enjoyable read it is a good book.  But, if you are reading it to find information about Catherine Dior you would be better served to do an internet search.  The book is more about her influence on the main characters.  Still, it got me thinking and searching out more information about her.  It makes me think differently about the perfume, Miss Dior, which is said to have been named after her by her brother, Christian.   There is a nice article on "fabric-store blog" about this designer.

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I am sure there are many stories of women who's actions during this time were brave and patriotic.  Maybe we will see some more of them in the future.

Sometimes fate steps in.

I was just going to use this time for sewing.  But sometimes fate steps in, this time in the form of a bored husband.  He is like a fly in a bottle.  On the go all the time and lock down just puts him in my space.  "Would you like a cup of tea", "We should go for a walk".  "What are you doing?"  I'd forgotten that the lock-down would put him front and centre. 

One good excuse to keep him out of my space is "I have to check my Emails", and, as luck would have it there was one there from Amazon Books with special offers on Kindle books.  I had looked at the title "When we believed in Mermaids" a number of times and it did register as a book of interest but when the ebook was on sale for $2.99 I just had to have it.  Now I can't put it down.

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It is not deep and meaningful, but, it is a good read.

I also know what everyone else is doing on the island.  They are all on the internet.  The download and upload speeds are SO slow!

Tara Books

Back in the 1990's my husband was working as an engineer with his friend and collegue Dr. Valdev Sing and we went to India in conjunction with his work.  For someone who had never been to India before this was a life changing time as I am sure it is for lots of people from the west on their first visit.  There were so many things that were different and as the men were working most of the time I was left to my own devices.  It was at this time I discovered a small publishing company called Tara Books.  They were hand making books made in rather primitive surroundings but the books were astounding.  Even more remarkable was that the founder of this company was a woman.  Gita Wolf.

(You can read all about the company on their web page.)

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The first book I bought was "The night life of trees".  It is one of my most treasured books. It is all hand made.  I look at it often.   It was my introduction to Gond Art.

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This short video shows you how these handmade books are put together.

From this time on I have been buying books from this Company.  I hold onto most of them and don't let them stray to far away.  I find even the children's books inspirational.  One early book I found opened my understanding about Indian Gond Culture, The London Jungle Book.

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I thought that Kipling had thought of all those jungle book stories himself but it seems their origin was in Indian folklore.

You can find some inspirational videos on their web page.  At the moment they are having a 10% off sale with free frieght for purchases over a certain amount.

Screen Shot 2021-06-18 at 4.05.06 pmI just had to add some more books to my collection.  This one in particular.

Screen Shot 2021-06-18 at 4.09.20 pmI am so looking forward to it's arrival.

The next book

My last book seemed to be finished before I began!!  I don't think this next one will be the same.

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Pachinko, which means "pinball"  has me putting it down every few pages to think about what I have just read.  I don't know a lot about Korea or the way of life of it's people.  I know that there is ill feeling between those people and the Japanese but as to why I am now finding out.  I visited Korea with my husband when he went on a business trip a number of years ago and remember having problems with the stainless steel chop sticks.  I also fell in love with their hand stitched thimbles and other small stitcheries along with their patchwork.  This book starts out saying one thing but opens you up to a range of other emotions.  If you enjoy historical fiction you will love this book.

You can click on the link at the beginning of the last paragraph to read a range of reviews from people far more informed than me.  I also know that the Korean's practice their own form of Kogin embroidery which is so similar to the Japanese form it is hard to tell them apart.

This is a good book and a great read.

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.

New Term

School starts today so not much time for anything else.  But I do have a new book called "Why we Drive" by Matthew Crawford.

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I am so enjoying this book.  It isn't a novel but rather looks deeply at our society through the lens of this American.  Much of his observations could be applied to any first world country.  He puts words together in an order that makes reading a pleasure.  I have borrowed this book from the on-line library at my local council but I think it is important enough to buy a hard copy.  It is one of those books that explains so much of what is going on in our world today.  

His thoughts on the company "Uber"  ( the taxi replacement Company) is great.  I, for one, refuse to use Uber and if I need a car will call a taxi.  My children and most of my friends use their services all the time.  After reading his explanation of their business model I understand what it is I didn't like about this Company but I never had any firm evidence or understanding for my beliefs.  Now I do.  He also shows that how much everything changes it stay much the same, reaching back to Greek of Roman writers to illustrate his point.

The review from Penguin books said,

"Driving, it turns out, offers a near-perfect embodiment of the broader changes being wrought by government and technology throughout our lives. In Why We Drive,the philosopher and mechanic Matthew Crawford shows the driver's seat to be one of the few remaining places where we still regularly take risk, exercise skill and enjoy freedom. But it is here too that we discover what we are losing to automation and the technocrats, and who will profit from the vision of progress they press upon us."

There is much debate here about the Federal Government insisting that Companies like Google and Facebook pay for the news that they copy from Australian Companies, both print and on-line.  Trying to understand the broader picture of exactly what is taking place here, (Google has threatened to close it's search engines to Australia), has been my reason for my search for more information.  There are far more academic books on this subject but this one is written in a way that is informative and interesting to read.

I am going to have to read his other book, "The case for working with your hands", after this.

The days inbetween

Those days in between Xmas and New year some how just muddle through.  I don't need anything from the sales, all the fabric shops are shut and so are lots of other business.  As I found out when I went to get some service on a hearing aid.  I did manage a trip to the Doctor to get my Vit B injection so my mind is working again.  The humidity is sky high here and the beaches are full of day trippers and holiday makers.  You can't get a seat at the local coffee shop and now it is starting to rain. 

So it is time to bunker down with a book and listen to the radio.  I got a good book from my sister for Xmas.

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I have read all of Jane Harper's books and this one doesn't disappoint either.  Set in Tasmania it is a great story, so far.

The other thing I bought was a new Diary for 2021.

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I am surprised just how much I have to put into it already.  Next year is going to be a busy one, that is unless that virus upsets all my planning.  The new year is rushing to greet us and after all the turmoil of 2020 I have been thinking about where I am headed.  My health has not been good this year and I am still dealing with the repercussions of Ross River Fever virus I got nearly 3 years ago.  That has left me with a movement disability that I thought I would recover from but it looks like it is here to stay.  Upside of that is I have a  disability parking sticker for the car.  It leaves me wondering just how long it will take for those that got Corona Virus to fully recover. There are stories emerging of it leaving lingering problems for some.  Just like myself and the Ross River Fever.