Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sculpture by the Sea - Bondi to Tamarama

Number 2 son and I went to the Sculpture by the Sea exhibition on Friday.  They are doing very little at school and he is artistic, and we really needed a day out.  So we took the bus to Bondi Beach - along with THOUSANDS of other people.  Mainly tourists I suspect, but it was packed.

The sculptures are installed along the Coastal Path from North Bondi to Tamarama Beach - which is about 2 kms long running right along the cliff top with beautiful windcarved rocks and rock ledges and grassed areas.  All perfect for exhibiting large sculptures.  

A lifesized herd of zebras at Bondi!!!!

This is my favourite .... such a clever use of the location....want it in my garden - by Juan Pablo Pinto & Clary Akon out of galvanised steel and is worth $18500

Used to have a tap set just like this in our old bathroom

This is my other favourite.....beautifully and painstaking mosaic  by Deborah Halpern "Ship of Fools" worth $145,000

A lovely day was had by all.  And, even better, when I got home my new project had arrived - Glorafilia Swans needlepoint cushion.....another one to add to the queue.  But how quick will it be!!??  It is tent stitch, so I only have to sew it once....and it is on 14 count canvas.....get it done at light speed!!!!  (Yeah I know "Dream On!!")  Oh Insomnia where art Thou??

Hope all is well with you all....and don't forget LIVE YOUR LIFE!! Happy Stitching

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Father in Law gone to God

My father in law - affectionately known by everyone as Spud turned 94 on Monday 7 November, sad thing was he was in a semi-coma in hospital having lots of morphine pumped into him, he died on 10 November.  One of only a few years since I have known him, that I did I not get him a birthday cake.  He loved anything with sugar.....chocolates, biscuits, cake......we even put a bag of lollies in the coffin with him!  Spud couldn't go into eternity without a bag of sweeties in his pocket.

I wrote his Death Notice - 

Spud was a gentleman of the old school - charming, honest, loyal and friendly and would talk to anyone (it was said he was inoculated with a gramophone needle sharpened on the Blarney Stone). He was kind and generous to a fault, but would drive across 3 suburbs to save 20c at the supermarket. His life was shaped by his parents Michael & Henrietta, growing up in Glebe in the Depression in a family of 13 kids. He worked hard, wasted nothing, but would give you his last two bob if you needed it. He married Dulcie (“Skinny”) in 1940 and he lovingly cared for her till her last day in 2008. He was adored by all his extended family and all who knew him 

The pretty much summed him up - a lovely man.  I keep imagining his reception in the hereafter......all those relatives and all those mates from all those 94 years there to meet him.....a lot with a beer in their hands for him....and ALL of them talking at once!

A fellow came up to my husband after the ceremony and hoped he did not mind him coming to the funeral, but he had read the death notice in the paper and felt he had to come and see the sort of fellow who had that written about him.  So I am glad I was able to do something special for you Spud right at the very end.  Lots of people will miss you.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Smelly Feet

What is it about boys and their feet!!  My two sons have just come back from a School Tour to Italy and England (yes!!!! when I was at school the most exciting place we went to was Warragamba Dam!!) They were away for 3 weeks but when they came back they managed to bring with them 4 weeks worth of dirty smelly clothes.  Being spoiled boys (I will throw my hands up here and accept full responsibility !) they were little used to doing their own washing.  But I suspect that their strategy was to do no washing at all (much simpler you have to agree).  So....... the two suitcases were full of NASTY NASTY stuff.  Pity help the rest of the group who sat with them on the 23 hour plane trip home to Sydney.

So the last load has just gone into the machine with the Sneakers From Hell (twice) - sad to wash off the dust from their walk up Mt Vesuvius...but the shoes smelled like week dead dogs.

Have not done any blogging because Tim took the camera with him. But I have actually finished the two samplers and have had them framed.  I have to say they do look good.  The Princess Child who pretends to be so world weary (at only 19) sparked up considerably when she saw the framed Wedding Sampler and immediately claimed it as her own ("After you're dead though Mum!" - I thought it was nice of her to be prepared to wait for my demise - remarkably thoughtful of her really!!

Have also nearly finished the Summer Sampler from Butternut Road, so will show that off when I find the camera in the suitcase (may need to be aired out before I am prepared to put it anywhere near my face).  Will then have to go back to the Golden Wood BAP which was the original motive for this blog.  Did a little the other day and it was so refreshing to be working with Aida with all its nice regular holes....rather than the linen which can cause a bit of swearing and a lot of squinting of eyes!

Thank you all for reading and happy stitching to all!

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Have just come back from the Wenty Quilters Show.  Went with Coral the Quilting Queen who, of course, knew most of the people there.  The Wenty Quilters are quite famous in Western Sydney - quite a large group - so large that it has a waiting list would you believe.  Anyway their bi-annual show is excellent and it did not disappoint this time.  It was held at beautiful Linwood House.

The main hall way filled with quilts

Look a long suffering husband passing his time reading about the 
house and ignoring the quilts

The House itself is National Trust - beautiful Federation style with tesselated floors and carving and leadlight (above it the fanlight and side lights for the front door.

There was of course a shop and you will all be proud - only bought two quite small things......this is amazing considering the temptation that there were on offer.  I got out of the well under $100 - this I can tell you is a first!!!!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Crafty Weekend in the Blue Mountains

After a few false starts and some mishaps The Sisters of the Travelling Quilt (more of this later) did actually manage to go for our crafty weekend.  We have been doing this for several years now.  A group of women at work, all who are craft fanatics or varying sorts decided we would escape from kids and work and housework and husbands etc every now and again.  We started as a group who met occasionally in one of our houses for a day of sewing and laughing and all know what we mean.

Anyway....latest instalment was at Katoomba in the beautiful Blue Mountains west of Sydney.  It only takes about an hour to drive there from most of the suburbs where we live, so it is perfect and the travelling does not impact on the crafty, laughing, eating etc.

The house we stayed in was called "Lyrebird Loft" - up a bush track that even an agile goat would have had second thoughts about, through the scrub for a short way and then there was the house, perched on the edge of cliff with a view that took your breath away

Here is the verandah which overlooks the view above.  The yellow tree is wattle which means that Spring is on its way.

As always with these little excursions, we never starve, so we had roast lamb and vegetables and gravy for dinner and patisserie cakes that Jen B brought.  Stoked up the wood fire, and drank and laughed and actually did some sewing.

We have infected Jen B with the quilting bug.....she is very crafty by nature, with a great sense of colour - she is actually Australia's answer to Martha Stewart....but she is now also a quilter.  Up to now she has been a crochet person, but we took her to a quilt show at the Rosehill Racecourse and she got sucked in by one of those chenille baby quilt kits. So she started on that.  She got her sewing machine out of the cupboard where it had resided for some years (her mother will be very pleased with this as it was a present from her mother, who was a little disappointed that it did not get more use).  Away she went sewing one big block to another big block....and that was all it took.  The Quilting Bug is more virulent that Ebola.  She kept saying "It's so much quicker than crochet!!"  She basically finished a lap sized baby quilt that evening!

Then there was Iris likes a chat on a hot day....if you know what I mean.  But when she is sewing - not a word - rather disconcerting really.  Like kids when they are quiet you tend to go and check them to make sure they are alright!!  She finished 3 quilt tops over the weekend and basically got all the blocks complete for a fourth.

The top quilt does not give anything like the impact of the actual quilt.  My camera is not the very best.  The blocks are purple and grey patterns and the border is dark purple....very impressive.

Kaz is another one of our converts to quilting and she finished two quilts as well...somehow the second picture went astray...but this jelly roll quilt is lovely.

I actually finished one as well....but to be honest it had been in hibernation for some time.  You know when you start a quilt all full of enthusiasm and then you meet obstacles and the enthusiasm wanes......anyway I discovered that I had actually done all the stars for this quilt and only had to do the quite simple block border.  I am still considering if it needs a border....will have to think about it.  What do you think?

Dont you love quilts that have feet!!!  In this case my quilt has two pairs of feet and a hand!!!

Having been doing a lot of cross stitch recently I really did love getting back to the immediacy of quilting.  I think I have been won over by jelly rolls....Coral the Quilting Queen (who could not come this weekend sadly) gave me a book of jelly roll patterns and both Iris and I are doing patterns from it.  I, of course, in my usual way picked a complicated once with 340 flying geese.  But they are all finished and only have to be sewn together.  When I post this I am going to the sewing room to do just that.

So thank you Sisters of the Travelling Quilt for a lovely weekend.  The Sisters started on one of our other weekends......we have decided to make blocks inscribed with some of the silly things we have said during the weekend.....this weekend will be "Was there garlic in that lamb?"  This from Iris....her digestive system does not react well to garlic.....I will say no more on this subject!!

Hello to all my followers....wish you had been with us....happy stitching!!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Finally something to show (off!!)

Have been busy so apologies for no blogging.  My excuses are a family wedding - my sister got married!! - my eldest son turned 17 and went for his driving test and failed (and was devastated!) and in amongst all that got close enough to finishing some things that with a clear conscience I can show you pictures.

First my sister married Katoomba Court House.  It was very charming and relaxed and friendly and we all blew bubbles instead of tossing confetti or rice.....I am sure the cleaner was happy about that!  

Beautiful bouquet with mixed pink roses and white ranunculus (hope that is how you spell it?)
The flowers went perfectly with the purple dress and the lovely green beads.  

Poor old big son having survived the 120 hours of practice hours that are required - mostly with me A VERY BAD PASSENGER - he then went for his test.  Darling son gets very nervous - he actually said his foot was shaking on the pedals as he started his test.  Oh wouldn't you just love to be able to do some of these things for them (useless in the long run I know but it just tears at your heart seeing them stressed).  On top of that he had to go through the worlds worst roundabout near the motor registry.  It is large, multi-laned and has traffic lights which are pedestrian activated.  During the whole of the 120 hours we had been practising the lights had never been activated.  I am sure that I had explained to him how they worked, and so would the driving instructor, as this roundabout is always part of the driving test at Blacktown Motor Registry.  But even with 30 years driving experience it is A BASTARD OF A THING!!  Anyway the upshot was that he hit the roundabout just at the traffic lights were starting to flash amber....he was close enough to go through them without losing marks, but he was so nervous and so busy making sure that he got through the roundabout that he did not see that traffic lights on the exit side of the roundabout, which by the time he got there had turned red.....FAIL!!  As I say he was devastated....close to tears my husband said - which is a big call for a 17 year old boy.  He was a bit more philosophical about it when I spoke to him that night when I got home from work.....but still, he hates not being able to do he said "I got really nervous mum....I wanted it so much"  Brings tears to the eyes.  So we are still practising and he gets to retry on Tuesday.  (saying little prayer!!)  Have actually bought him a bottle of vitamin based/natural ingredients "Chill Pills" (that is their name!!) and if all else fails the placebo effect will kick in and he will be a bit more relaxed for the next test.  

I have discovered there is a group on Facebook about this BASTARD that tells you something doesn't it.

Then of course I have to face the even scarier prospect of him out there by himself with all the loons who also occupy the road.  God help him!!

Anyway back to crafty stuff.  Did actually finish a couple of things and also took my Wedding Sampler and Bee's Birth Sampler up to the framers to get a quote.  Was pleasantly surprised with the price so that local man at Prospect will be framing them both.  As with most things I get involved with, there were a huge number of frames that I liked and I stood there for sometime playing with them and scratching my head.....but decided in the long run and will post photos when they come back.

Anyway here is what I have finished....I always seem to post quilts without binding....but they do get bound eventually......

This is an Advent Calendar for my nephew and nieces....I have just realised how crooked some of the little pockets are....oh well...too late now. 

Here are pictures of my Kaffe Fasset quilt - I have instructed my kids that I want this quilt in the coffin with me - happy to spend eternity with this daughter was aghast at the thought but I promised her I would haunt her all her days if she did not send me off with this quilt.

Friday, August 5, 2011

More than halfway through the Year - and NOW I get a plan

Well I am always saying "When I get organised I will.............." Were I to spend the time doing rather than planning life would be far more productive......but here I will put some sort of order.....anyway THAT IS THE PLAN.  So I have found out how to add pages.....and of course, as with most computer things that I where near as simple as they make out.   Tried reading the help section........could not understand it, so no help at all.  So I fiddled about and worked it out myself.....are you proud of me Crafty Princess??.  Remind me to tell you how to do it....if I remember

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Down the years

I was just browsing through a gallery of Antique Samplers....lots from Scotland and England, very beautiful and detailed and oh so colourful.  Britain was pretty dour in the early 19th Century and times were hard, particularly in Scotland.  But here were little girls learning their letters and numbers and their stitches and creating lasting and now absolutely prized craft works that have long outlived them. The items they made were quite common in their day - most girls did them, but it is because they have survived and thus are rare, but also because they are stitched with care and skill and have created their own simple radiance.  But this applies to a lot of the things that I see every time I read craft and care and a wish to create something lasting and good and beautiful.  Ok we blog because we want to share our work with others, or want to show off, or want the lovely admiring comments....if we are honest with ourselves, this is true to varying degrees for each of us.

Maybe that is why I meals and cleaning the house...and even (dare I say it) raising children is not something that last too long.  Meals and clean houses do not last for (sometimes) more than a minute  or two.  Children go off and take responsibility for their own lives, but really your influence on the world, through them, only last your lifetime and perhaps a little beyond.  But a beautiful heirloom is another matter.....I know many of you will say that children influence and contribute long after you are gone, and I pray that mine will.  But mine seem to have grown  up so quickly - quicker and quicker every year!  (Oh dear maudlin again!)

But excuse my total lack of modesty I would like someone to go a Museum (in person or online) in generations to come and see a sampler or a quilt or some cross stitch that I have finished and say "Oh isn't that lovely!!!"  I doubt that the little girls ever imagined that their work would outlast them...maybe they just want to get it finished so they could get on with something else.   Craft is something that gives pleasure while you are doing it - there are moments when this is not strictly true (unpicking springs to mind) - craft also gives you pleasure when you complete something, when you get admiring comments and when your kids find some forgotten finished piece in a drawer after you are gone - or if by some miracle it ends up in the Sampler Room of the V&A (Well we can dream can't we!!!!!)

I should probably go and do some stitching after all that I have just said......

Here is the link

This girl could be a relative of mine Jannet Bruce 1775 Edinburgh

Mary Donaldson aged 12 1814 Peebles

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Chaos Theory is at hand Little Leaf

I have not blogged recently, but have been reading others know how one leads to another and to another and to another.  So many people write so woman's story of her grandmother had tears rolling down my face...all those lives out there, so different from my own - lives that are moving along steadily - or is it randomly.  Can we plan anything...should we plan anything?  Maybe Chaos Theory has its good points, or is that just an excuse to abrogate all responsibility for our lives and just float along like a little leaf on the surface of the waters of the world.  If you are wondering IS THIS WOMAN DRUNK - no sadly I am not...just a bit is very cold and very windy and very grey...and I should be vacuuming the entire house and folding clean clothes and thinking about dinner, even though I have just finished breakfast.  My life feels rather like Chaos Fact, rather than Theory....trying to keep all the balls in the air at once - but they are getting a bit wayward and I think I just dropped one and it rolled under the sofa....Mr Hoover is calling.

Have a good day - may we all relax into Chaos Theory and not plan too much and just hope for the best!!!  I am picturing myself as a floating leaf.....

Friday, July 8, 2011

Next Big Plan

When the Quilting Queen and the Crafty Princess and I were at the Craft Show we saw the Needlework Tour people.  I have been past their stall every year for years...and always get their lovely brochure...and daydream.  But this time with aiding and abetting from the Quilting Queen we are going in 2013.  The tour starts in London and there are two or three different itineraries....and because it is so far (literally the other side of the world from Sydney) and because it costs so much to get there, we decided that we would do two tours combined.  The Stitches and Stately Homes Tours - Tours A and B, England Scotland and Ireland and then Southwest England and France.....will cost me a bomb but will love every minute of it.  History and stitching PERFECT.  And 5 days off in London in between....happy days.

Maybe we could organise a stitching day in Hyde Park or Kew Garden or Trafalgar to save up now.  So no more buying of stash....will definitely have the stash whittled down by September 2013

Here is the link which has the itineraries and lovely lovely pictures.

 And of course the food......

June was completely disorganised!!!

Hello to all my sisters and brothers of the stitch.....I am embarrassed by the length of my absence - missed June altogether.  I seem to have been very busy....but for the life of me cannot tell you what I have done.  Have done some stitching and some knitting, but nothing finished....lots of going to work, and lots of house cleaning (well that is a down and out lie....there was the bare minimum of house cleaning.  Just enough to stop the health inspectors arriving!) 

BUT WAIT....the Crafty Princess and I did go to the Ball!!!!....well the Craft Show at Darling Harbour in Sydney.  Huge barn of a place filled with TEMPTATION!!  But as we had promised to the lovely boys from Stitch it All, I managed to show them the finished Wedding Sampler.....the Princess on the other hand was NEARLY finished....but not quite.
We also met the Quilting Queen - my friend Coral there....she escaped from work early and met us there for lunch.

Stupidly went to the Show saying to myself that I would not buy anything....had enough stuff to fuel my craft projects for the rest of my life....and if I ran out I could cadge some from the Princess, who has enough for 15 lifetimes!!  But of course I did buy stuff - a full metre of linen from the Lovely Boys, a quilt pattern, some silk thread for my dear little sampler (am now completely addicted to these) and worst of all some beads got me sucked in.  LIKE I NEED ANOTHER CRAFT LIKE A HUGE HOLE IN THE SIDE OF MY HEAD!!!  But what can you do, the lovely green and blue glass beads just spoke to me, like charming little pets that beg wordlessly to come home with you......YOU ALL KNOW WHAT I MEAN.

And also bought a very lovely Ink Circles pattern and a kit for Christmas Ornaments that I am going to share 50/50 with Mel from work....another one the Crafty Princess and I have infected with the cross stitch bug.

You notice that the Ornament kit is on special - I rationalised it very well with that....see lovely orange sticker!!

The Ink Circles pattern was done in lovely variegated golden thread - not sure what I will use but I think I will do it on a more traditional natural linen background.

 I only bought enough fabric to do the central medallion....see I can show restraint....sometime and only in small amounts...but it is restraint nonetheless!!
This is the lovely sampler....with bees and butterflies and flowers and lovely blue and pink silks....ooooooooooooooooooooohhh!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Autumn is Definitely Here - not just in Golden Wood

Have been working a lot recently - now that it is May that means going to work in the dark and coming home in the dark!!  Got up this morning and realised that the beautiful Tallowood trees in my front garden have gone yellow (seemingly overnight) I am quite sure they were green only the other day (not exactly sure when that "other day" was mind you.....!!!!!)  But look.....

There appears to be a certain theme in my life at the moment - it is AUTUMN in a big way - trees and cross stitch.  I have finished another page of Golden Wood (where it appears to be perpetual Autumn) after much fiddling about with other things, and also getting a disgusting cold.  So I am now back in the land of the living and getting on with Golden Wood.  I have also started a small HAED Lady in a Meadow - on 25 ct evenweave.  My god it is small.....had to go out and get some of those reading glasses from the $2 shop so that I could actually see the little holes.....see the recurring theme my body is in it Autumn also. Better get stitching and finish Golden Wood and all the other charts and projects before dementia sets in..... AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A FINISHED SAMPLER - MIRACLE ON MOTHERS DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Today dawned a beautiful autumn Sunday - it was Mothers Day and Bee and Tim and I were off to the Mothers Day Classic in Parramatta Park.  We did the 8km walk and raised money for Breast Cancer Research.  I should not have been surprised, but there were over 5,000 walking around the Park....very impressive sight.  The organisers were issuing Tribute Cards for people to wear to remember their loved ones who had been affected by cancer.  It brought tears to the eyes to see how many there were.  There were also men (clearly fathers and sons) who were wearing pictures of their wives and mothers who had died (Oh so sad)  But at the same time there was someone from every ethnic background - Arabic women in headscarfs, and Islander women, and Greeks and Italians and Indians....thousands of them.  But best of all there were women walking wearing Chemo Beanies and a number of women with very short hair (clearly just growing back after chemo) and they all looked happy and well and surviving and determined to continue surviving.  Even my 19 year old daughter, who likes to think she is so worldly wise and cynical said how much she enjoyed the event and how much she had been affected by it all and said that we had to do it again next year.  She was the one who found a Tribute card already on the wall.  It had a picture of a lovely looking smiling lady who had died only 2 weeks before the event.  Her family had put up the picture and surrounded it with white chrysanthemums - oh dear, it was good I was wearing sunglasses - no one could see the tears.

Then the whole family went for lunch....and then rather tired, I must admit, went home and thought I was justified sitting for the rest of the afternoon stitching......AND I FINISHED THE SAMPLER!!!!!!!!

Well there were moments - usually when I had just discovered that something did not meet up with something else, or when I realised I had stitched something in the wrong place and had to unpick - it was at those moments when I wondered if it would ever get finished.  But here is the proof.................

And everything (eventually) met up with everything else - just where it should be.
And here are a few pictures from the Mothers Day year I am going to walk wearing a pink tutu and fairy wings!!!

The great stream of over 5000 people

Love the man walking with his pink fluffy halo!!!!

Lovely Bee and Darling Tim
Look how tall he is....and only 13!!!  He is actually holding me up - too embarrassing to fall down on the finish line!

Hope you all had a lovely Mothers Day and you or no one you know or love are touched by any form of cancer.