I got my preferred diary, at last.

With all the disruption of illness I wasn't able to purchase the diary I like to use for this year.  I have used this type of diary for at least 10 years and every year I stitch a cover for it.  I thought that I has missed out and purchased another one just to go on with but then I found the one I prefer.

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I like it because it is well constructed, there is a list of school terms for every state, it has a  monthly and daily planner page, for this year and next, lots of room for notes and photos of subjects that sooth my soul.

I am pressing on with the challenge, which I will use for the cover of this diary. 

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After applying the paint I went looking for other fabrics to incorporate into the piece and low and behold I found an old piece I had stashed away from a workshop I did with Dijanne Cevaal back in the 1990's!  I very much copied her style for this block and I still have not mastered how to free machine quilt.  In this workshop we did Procion dyeing of fabric and them made lino blocks which we printed onto the fabric.  I did the workshop so that I could learn the process and use it with my special needs students, who it turned out, were far better than me at doing this.  (We made a quilt for the local library about the history of the schools local.)

This turtle is just the right colours for my fabric, but, it has thrown a spanner in the works.  I was going to have floral stitching but now it will have to be linked to the sea.  That is going to be a whole new story. I think I will attempt to machine embroider the turtle and although I have put together a whole lot of threads I'm not sure how the rest of this will turn out.

The Design Challenge

I have been slow in getting started on this, but then I'm just slow at everything at the moment.  I still find I have to lie down and just stop at points throughout the day.  Still, I got my fabric prepared and the paint onto it for the first stage.

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My tools included 2 sizes of brushes, which I didn't use much.  Some cut up labels off a pair of slacks I have bought and a broken plastic clothes peg.

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This was last years challenge and I see I must have used the same blue.  I have done little painting since then in acrylics it has all been water colours for the past year.

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Now to let it dry and move onto the next stage.


I finally worked out that if I used markers on my knitting I could keep better track of the pattern.  (Boy am I slow?)  So now I am on the home straight with this one.  I hope I will have enough wool left over to knit a hat as well.  Then I should be able to return to my winter sweater.

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But, I have just bought Julie's new small patterns from her shop


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and sweaters.

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My grand daughter Jasmine just loves soft toys.  She has a mountain in her room of these but I know she would love some more.  Luckily, (unluckily) I don't have the right wool for the mice so it will just have to be the bears.

My TAST challenge piece for this month is completed.  I am only using running stitch and it's variations for this one.

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I decided to use woodland and water spirits as my inspiration for this series.  This one is based on Resulka the Vilia. (My Resulka isn't nearly as beautiful as the one in the video, I am trying to make her other worldly.)


And, on a more prosaic note, I'm still finishing pot holders

My phone isn't working!!

My phone isn't working properly.  I had no idea just how much I relied on it.  I can do some things like receive and send messages, look at advertisements and some photos and some apps but I can't receive or make phone calls, use the camera or the alarms.  I don't know if I have hit some button by mistake or the phone is faulty.  This calls for a visit to the Apple store which is an hours drive away and I can't get an appointment at the Genius Bar until 1 pm today.

Now, although I love all things techie I don't have a lot of knowledge, I just barge in and hope it works.  I might have done that on the phone.  After 10 years of trying to work out why my circular knitting needles keep coming undone I saw some one else tighten theirs and had  light bulb moment. I kept moving the screw when I should have been twisting the needle!!

I am going to have another attempt at "Stitch Camp" tomorrow with Gwen Hedley.  I did this course last year and really enjoyed the process.  (It's Free.)

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This year I have  taken my colour scheme from a vase of flowers I saw in a gift shop.

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And this time I think I will try a more figurative approach.  So things are about to get messy but I have my workspace set up to withstand the mess I make this time.  (I hope.).


I have finished another small bowl lid to hold the pins and needles.

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I used another Japanese fabric for the bottom of the lid.

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As my husband has brought home yet another virus, this time the flu, I have put my sweater knitting aside as I am up to the counting part and my concentration isn't good.  So I started another piece, this time a shawl and have finished up to the lace section, which calls for counting, so I have stopped again as I just can't count at the moment.

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I knitted a trail piece of lace and I'm not sure if this is right.

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After comparing the two pieces I have pulled out the lace section again.  I think I will knit it on a larger sized needle so that I get more definition.

And I am working on a design for the TAST challenge.  I am trying to compose a piece in running stitch and it's variations only.  I have been experimenting with the Ainu Running Stitch 

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I have some ideas to how I will use this, hope they work.

( I have taken to wearing a mask in the house because I just can't trust my husband to be Covid safe.  Living with someone who is developing dementia is not easy!)

My resident Frog - Mervyn

This year has started off so wet.  I am not complaining as there are many places that are wetter than here but the weather has encouraged the tree frogs.

Don't leave the screen door open or they will hop straight in.  Seems that the weather is a little wet even for them.  One tree frog has had to be evicted so many times that I have now given him a name.  He is such a pest that I decided to paint a water-colour of him so that when the dry returns I can remember him. 

So this is Mervyn.

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My mug bag

Before my run in with "The Virus" I was working on making a new mug bag to take my mug to Patchwork meetings.  As I said before I have a lovely bag that is somewhere "safe", but , not knowing where "safe" is I needed a new one.  I liked my 'lovely bag" so decided to base the design on that and as I wasn't feeling well when I started I would just use fabric I had in my stash, also, as the mug had an Australian Native Flower printed on it I would look for those kind of fabrics.

The only fabric I could find that fitted this criteria was some Furnishing Weight fabric that was printed with May Gibbs "Bush Babies".  I proceeded to 'fussy cut' out panels of this.

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Then to find the co-ordinating fabric.  Once again, only one match.  This time a small remnant of Tilda fabric I had collected but this was a light weight.

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And them I cam across some stripped fabric that matched, another weight of fabric from the other two.  I immediately knew I was going to have problems putting three different weights of fabric into a project. But, I could handle this.

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This bag design is basically a rectangle, which is then folded into three parts, the 2 sides,  and the base.  You insert the side pieces of fabric on  the base rounding of the corners to make the insersion easier, and then attach  either side of the insert to the sides of the rectangle, Add some handles and then bind the edges with a "quilters binding". " Easy Peasy"   I little more difficult when you are using different weights of fabric.

The size of my bag was dictated by those fussy cut panels but you could just use any fabric and make it the size of your mug.

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I just used a hair tie for the loop to close the top.  An elastic casing at the top of the side panel, that I cut on the fold at the top edge and then stitched the casing holds this nicely.  But if you are not fussy about seeing the underside of the fabric you could just sew an ordinary casing and save fabric.


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I would have made the bag a bit smaller if I was using other fabric but I decided to add a couple of pockets inside to hold extra things.

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So now I am all ready for when Patchwork meetings recommence.  I have enclosed a PDF drawing of the measurements I used to make this bag.

Download Jan Mug Bag

Covid Negative - finally

It is a red letter day today.  I have finally tested negative to Covid.  I have been positive for the past 14 days.  I knew that the virus would give me trouble, having an immune system problem, but I think that all those vaccinations, (5), probably helped me to survive.  There was one period where I was hospitalised, because my blood pressure was out of control, that I think was the most dangerous. And as much as I am grateful to the Doctors and Nurses at the Hospital I hated the Covid ward, it was like being locked up in prison.  The ward was separate to the hospital.  A locked concrete block building with windows up at ceiling level, I was so glad when they said I could go home.

I got the virus from my husband, who isn't thinking properly because of the onset of dementia.  He probably forgot his mask and I know that at least one of his rowing mates had the virus.  Jut shows, you can be as careful as can be but there just has to be one person in your close circle who isn't thinking about spreading the infection and you have it.

So now I want to sew again.  I don't have a lot of energy and am still not thinking clearly but if I can get all this "out of my head and into my hands" I am sure I will gradually get better.

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I made a start by sewing the gathering around my little cushions for the pin cushions and attaching them to the cardboard bases.  Not a lot, but it is a start.