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Things keep changing

It is the thing that things do, change that is, but I am finding it hard to deal with at the moment. 

My local patchwork shop is closing down and I was just getting really comfortable with going there.  I was only in there yesterday and today I get an Email telling me they are closing.  It isn't as if I hadn't expected it might happen, the owner Margaret is about my age and her husband died recently, but, I didn't want it to happen. 

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There are other patchwork shops. A bit further away and it will mean a special trip to get there.  Now that might make me use some of the fabrics that I have stock piled. 

My machine servicing man, Martin, has been moved to palliative care,  he had only just retired a few months ago.  He was such a support to me when I was running Textile and Design course in High Schools.  I would normally have about 50 sewing machines and he kept them in tip top condition, no matter what.  When I retired from the Education Dept. he helped me set up my sewing school that I ran.  Such a supportive special man.  He always ran special in-service days for my staff and kept me up to date on the latest developments of technology and sewing and he loved what he did.

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I have made so many special friends though out my life who have shared my love of sewing and textiles.  I am so grateful to all of them for their support and care for me.  I always knew these relationships were special and now that change is destablising my little world I appreciate them all so much more and I thank God for the blessing of having had them in my life.


A forced retreat

My son rang me this morning to say he had tested positive for Covid.  I'm still coming to terms with that.  When he was here he told us that everyone at work had contracted the virus, so in some ways I'm not surprised. (He is triple vaccinated.) Now we have to handle that.  It is impossible to get a test done unless you have symptoms and there are no home tests available to self test.  So, we will just have to wait and see what happens.  Not much use worrying about what might happen.  Both my husband and I are 'at risk'.  He because he has had open heart surgery and me because I have a problem with my immune system, so it is a concern.

We have to go into isolation for the next 7 days as close contacts so I am lining up the sewing projects.  Those place-mats and then quite a bit of quilting.  At least there will be no interruptions!  Because we live, away from people, I can still go for a walk outside.  And there are some parts of the island where you can be completely alone.  So it isn't all doom and gloom, and just think of all the work I can get done?

This morning the sea was calm and the wild hibiscus trees had dropped their flowers into the water.  (This tree is home to jewel beetles as well as having lovely flowers.)

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I am going to keep an eye on my Bougainvillea, it is growing like Jack's bean stalk and it is not going any higher than the roof.  I wonder how long it will take to get to the roof?

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I am inundated with visitors,  even though the weather isn't brilliant and COVID is everywhere.  I have my grand daughters sewing with me.

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My sons and their friends have got the boat in the water, despite the weather.

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I wasn't real happy about the men taking the girls out on the boat.  As I have written before, these waters are deceptive and I remember a time when we had to rescue my son when he and his friends were teenagers.

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But they told me I was being  alarmist and everything was fine.  Yes the weather was a 'bit over-caste' , but they were experienced.  So, off they went.

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Then I see them 'turn turtle', and although they are experienced they had a child with them.  But, the Life Savers were on the beach and they rescued Monique, who thought it was the most exciting thing that had ever happened to her.  The rest of us were not so happy.

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The boys came back very shaken up and have decided it isn't the place to take kids in this weather.  All the other adults agree but the kids are a bit put out.  This will be a holiday to be remembered.

Being Tempted

So, the last day of the year.  Not a great year.  Lots went wrong but some things were good.  I am still trying to sort out just where the balance is.  This pandemic seems to be deepening and makes one feel very, well, not quite unsafe, probably unsure about what is to come.  I have just about finished clearing out all the extra fabric from my sewing room.  It didn't really clear a lot of space, which is surprising as I had 5 large shopping bags full to donate to the Guild or the Op shop.  Some of the embroidery kits I bought back in the 1970's when we were in Europe.  I am never going to finish them, better they go to a new home.

There were a few things I just couldn't part with.  Like this piece of Marimekko fabric from 1981.  I was going to make it into a wall hanging but now it is a table cloth for my patio table.

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And this quick drawing my friend Pam did for me on a piece of fabric.  I might have to frame this one.

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Some Ukranian work, I didn't finish, and this piece of Limerick Lace stitched by my grandmother and great grand mother.

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And I found my old darning mushroom that my grandmother gave to me.

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As to stitching, all I seem to see lately in my research is canvas work.  Firstly Rachel on her blog with some new delicious stitches.  Then I have seen all this wonderful work on the Royal School of Needlework's site.  I just love this post box and although this is worked on linen not canvas it still uses the same stitches.  This piece is by Ayako Tanihata.

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And how about this piece by Sally Randall?  (I wonder when she is coming home?  She may never get out of the U.K.!)

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Luckily for me I only found one piece of fabric suitable for canvas work so I'm not giving in just yet because I have a long list of other things I want to stitch, but it is tempting.

Roll on 2022.

It is getting so close you can smell it

Communication isn't too good in this house.  The kids think my husband will keep me informed but it just doesn't happen.  I had to go out yesterday and leave Bear on his own.  Something I rarely do because he get anxious.   He just loves the beach.  Straight into the water,

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Then a roll in the sand, what a mess.  He has a long coat and all that sand comes home into the house.

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He ends up getting left behind and comes running flat out to catch up.

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Still, it had to be done because I have the family coming for Xmas  Eve and I have to shop.  Problem is dogs are not allowed in the shops.  Plus now that the borders are open COVID is running around unchecked.  I still have a couple of months till I can get a booster shot so I went out  feeling quiet unsafe.

Looking back at Xmas' past.

I thought I would clean out some of my old files on the computer, letters etc.  There I found all my old letters and lists from Xmas' past.  I started these to deal with the trauma of being attacked that year.  I wrote..(2007)

"Happily I can say that I am slowly regaining my health although I am left with neck problems, loss of hearing in my left ear where I was hit and diminished eyesight caused by long periods of heightened adrenaline in my system."

The hearing has got worse since then, as has the eye sight, now 15 years later, I still deal with anxiety but I am in a far happier place.

I also found that I had all my dinner planning notes, recipes, shopping lists etc. for every year since then.   So, I have printed a selection and will select some to serve for the late lunch on Xmas Eve when my children and grand children will visit.  I always had a Xmas Eve Dinner Party with family and friends before we moved to the island.  They were a lot of work but it was something I loved doing.  I am looking forward to re-creating this again, this time for just the family.

The other Xmas tradition is making the Gingerbread House.  I usually get this from IKEA but it doesn't stand up to the humidity very well.  So, this year I have bought two, pre-made houses from Aldi.  Far better option.  They each had their own house to decorate and they came in a box they could use to take home.

So one house each.  Jasmine.

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Monique, who will turn 11 just after Xmas.

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The Santa photo was a bit weird this year with social distancing.

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But the beach is ever welcoming.

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One of my sons have a new sail boat being delivered this week.  Guess where he is going to keep it?

Bright fabric

I was looking for bright fabric to use to make a gift and came upon this Kafe Fassett designed fabric in my stash.  It was called 'Artisan'.  Heaven knows why I bought it, I think it was on sale.

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I know I bought it from a quilting shop but it wasn't really suitable for quilting, would have been better to make clothing with but I didn't buy enough metreage.  I have used it to make an exchange gift for a member of my quilting group.

We were given a list of patterns we would like to have made up as our gift and were asked to select one.  This list was then mixed up and we were given another members name and were asked to make what they had selected.  I was given this pattern to make up for a member I know loves orange and bright colours, hence the search in my stash.

I have changed the pattern slightly by adding a thicker and softer interfacing.  Reason?  Well I think it could also be used to store jewelry and for that you need a bit thicker wadding and I didn't think she would use it as a sewing equipment holder and when I gave it to her she agreed.

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I just had to work out how to attach the brightly coloured clip that holds the cover together.  I bought a set of plastic clips and a tool to attach them but I just couldn't get them to work.  I had to do it a few times but I finally got there.  This is going to be a useful tool actually and the clips are very strong much stronger than I had thought.  I will be using them instead of the 'sew on' ones in future for this kind of project.

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Only three functions this week, as if that isn't enough! At our quilting group we got hit with this horrendous storm.  We could see it building up over the city in the distance and were hoping it would head south.

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It just seemed to intensify.

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Still, we were all set up on the verandahs and one of our members had stitched bunting with each of our names on them.

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Because of COVID we self catered with some of our members doing the cooking, which was delicious.

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We had a visit from one of Santa's Elves who was actually my God-son's boy Leo. ( Leo has MS so we all raise money for research into this disease.)

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Then the heavens opened and this fierce storm descended on us and we had to beat a retreat inside.  Little did we know, but only a short distance away, at the Hungry Jacks Take-away, which in right in the centre of all the shops where we all had been at some time, a car was washed away from the parking area and a women drowned. This creek also ran through the playground of a school where I taught.   It is just something you don't expect to happen at the local shopping centre and there are many other shopping centres who's car parks border creeks.  I'm afraid that this has shaken me.  I will be very careful in all storms now.



My Goodness!! Where did the year go?

It's the end of the month and tomorrow is the first day of Advent!!!

Where did the year go?

I was just sitting having a coffee and my Xmas mouse, (that I hadn't put away from last year), was next to my coffee mug saying, "Ha, Ha, you're not ready!

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(That biscuit is from Aldi and I bought them to serve at Xmas but I find I only have one left!!  I have no idea where they all went!!!)

Luckily I have some work started, but not finished.

Panic stations!!!

I love this little needlecase.

Kate sits opposite me at stitching days at the Guild.  We normally compare notes on things French, but neither of us have been able to travel since the pandemic began.  She has this lovely needle-case that she designed and stitched, so I asked her permission to put up some photos of it.

It is stitched in silk threads on Moray silk fabric.  (The one that has a kind of watermark in the weave.)  I really covet this piece.

This is the back and you can see how she has bound the leaves together.  That twisted cord around the edge sets it off nicely.

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Inside she has printed an index of the needles, the following leaves are in Doctor's  Wool Flannel.  (You can see the sheen on that silk fabric better here.)

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And on the front cover she has stitched this delightful motive.

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A couple of detail photo's to see the actual stitching.

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Just lovely.


A week off!

My son is taking my grand daughter for home schooling this week so I have a whole week off!  What a luxury?  I love my grand daughter but not having any time or space to myself is limiting.  I have done little sewing and I am always so tired that I don't feel like doing any.  School starts at 8am and there are breakfasts to make, hair to braid, putting her bed away for the day and making sure she takes her medication, which can lead to difficulties and everything else that goes with parenting.  How every did I manage three children, a husband, a home and a full time job?  Granted I was younger then.  And this week past I had a birthday as well.

My island friends called in for afternoon tea and gave me a new blouse that is just right for the island. 

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My husband forgot the day as the family was taking me out to lunch on the following Saturday at the Sailing Club.  But, when the weekend came I was spoilt.  He gave me some nice jewellry.

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My grand daughters said that I like birds and flowers, so I got both.

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Plus the added bonus of pretty paper and a card.

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My little grand daughter (the artist) also gave me some note paper and a pen which she decorated the top 5 sheets of.

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And after a lovely, but exhausting day, we had a wonderful sunset to look at on the ferry home.

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I quite liked my birthday this year.