Wednesday, 27 February 2008


When not looking after me, my clever daughter has been sewing - a very loud shirt for her fellow from fabric covered with large stripes, barbecue tools and salad vegetables, and a small floor quilt for a friend who is soon to have a baby. My gorgeous girl is over six feet tall, and tries to sew all her own clothes because commercially made garments just do not fit her. With great style, she favours using original patterns from the 50's and often vintage fabrics as well. This little quilt was made from scraps from other projects and is machine quilted using a walking foot for the first time. Her special friend Squid the staffy was obviously a great help!

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Home Sweet Home

It has been a little while, but I'm back! No matter how good hospital care may be, or even the loving TLC of a family member - there is no place like home. One's own bed, the food one prefers to eat, one's own space and bits and pieces, and dogs home from the kennels. Returned here on Sunday last, with my daughter for company and to stop me doing things I should not, though am sorely tempted. So - I'm being waited on hand and foot, being driven around, meals cooked, washing done and hung etc etc. Think I could get very used to it but reality will hit when she returns to Melbourne on Friday and I shall still need to go gently. I plan lots of sewing, and am still to do the February TIF challenge......I'm afraid it will be a bit late though it is not the end of the month just yet.

No trip to any town nearby would not be complete without a scavenge in every Op shop, and we have done well. I purchased this tapestry frame for $4, thinking I could give it to a friend newly interested in needlework, but may keep it.....just in case I need another! It came with a partially completed piece of work, a cushion I think, done in a single strand crewel wool on fairly fine canvas. Perhaps it came from a deceased estate, or the lady who worked it just become fed up with the small scale of the piece. It would have looked superb when complete.

What to do with the canvas? It was a bit grubby and tea stained, and not likely that I would complete it, but my dear daughter needed a cover for her new MP3 player - a very neat device about which I new nothing but is an example of the technology of ever shrinking electronic wizardry. It measures less than an ATC. Anyway I cut and finished raw edges, completed a few stitches, covered places where the stitches were likely to unravel, lined it with woolen felt and finished it with a vintage button. I think it looks great!

Thursday, 14 February 2008


I shall not be posting here for a little while, but thought I would leave you with news of a surprise received in this morning's mail. A cheque for $150 FROM my supplier of electricity as compensation for having experienced "more than 30 hours of unplanned sustained interruptions to service in one calendar year". In this area there are many and frequent power outages as trees fall on lines, lines are blown down by winds, or other factors cause blackouts which may last from a minute or two to several hours, so one always has an ample supply of candles and torches at hand. It is always inconvenient but usually fixed fairly quickly.

The cheque was accompanied with a schedule of payments that varied according to length and number of interruptions one might experience. It seems ironic in view of the events in this country yesterday, and the current issue of possible compensation for the members of the stolen generations for losses that cannot be fixed.

To finish, a photo of Pieris japonica - a gorgeous shrub that I saw some months back in the National Rhodendron Gardens. Wouldn't it look great in textiles?

Tuesday, 12 February 2008


Echinacea - White coneflower and one of my girls.... Honey harvest due later this month!

Monday, 11 February 2008

There is a system......

I live in a small country town, the nearest bigger town is more than 20 kilometres away, so when I am close to even bigger places I usually take advantage of the range of shops and purchase what I need. On Saturday when I was in Bendigo I went to Bunn***s and purchased a small hand trolley, the sort one uses to move fridges, washing machines or other large heavy objects – in my case more likely to garden related, or 30 kg bags of chicken food, and so save my back and other bits from my tendency to lift too much. It was made in China, did not cost a great deal, and came shrink wrapped in opaque plastic.

When I stripped off the plastic wrapping to assemble it yesterday, I found it only had one wheel. For a millisecond I wondered if this was some new invention, but then realised that was absurd. Yes, perhaps I should have checked it all more carefully, but could you imagine a trolley not having two wheels when the demo model was clearly displayed with a matching pair?

Anyway, I decided that today as I was going somewhere near another Bunn***s, I would exchange the faulty one for another that would actually work. I explained the situation to the Helpful Person at the customer service desk and she asked for my receipt – which of course I had lost along the way. Because they could not confirm my Bendigo purchase without it, I was instructed to go to the local Police Station and make a statutory declaration that said trolley had been purchased in another Bunn***s and only had one wheel, and then she would exchange it. So off I go to the Police station, get a stat dec signed and witnessed by rather bored but friendly female policeperson, and return to Bunn***s. Having checked my driving licence, the Helpful Person at complaints desk then gave me an exchange voucher so I could find another trolley and give the voucher to the check out person in payment. Everything going well, I thought………

However, there were no trolleys of this kind in stock at this particular Bunn***s, the next delivery was not due for another week, and the voucher was only valid for 24 hours. Back to the customer service desk.

The Helpful Person's solution was this – I would use the exchange voucher to purchase the trolley I had just returned and thus generate a receipt. I would then return the trolley for a second time as it only had one wheel, and she could give me a cash refund as I now had a receipt issued by that Bunn***s store.

This total procedure must have generated more than half a metre of printed paper from the cash register. In the end I got my money back, which I did not want – all I wanted was a little blue trolley with two wheels.

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Early morning visitor

The kangaroos are back. Through the winter they mostly stay in and around the forest, but as their feed dries off they reappear in the surrounding paddocks and our gardens. This young one was one of three grazing just outside my house this morning - during winter it is not uncommon to see up to a dozen enjoying my grass at night or in the early morning. A hasty shot before the dogs spotted them, so a bit blurry.

Saturday, 9 February 2008

Country ways

Yesterday there was a funeral in this town for the brother of a friend of mine, a local identity who had contributed in many ways to the community and was much loved. It was very well attended, with the streets near the church so packed with the cars of those attending, that getting past was difficult. As I crept past, I was struck again by the difference in country and town vehicles - there were a few newish smart cars, but most were dusty older models, light trucks, dirty farm utes, some with pumps or generators still on the back, and handful of those "beaut utes" covered with spotlights and antenna, favoured by the younger blokes. Certainly nothing like the cars one would see parked outside a funeral director's place in Melbourne. Not for this man a quiet morning tea at the Mechanics Hall, following the service, where sombre friends and relatives could compare memories while munching on home made sandwiches and cake - they all adjourned to the Pig - a local pub, well known for its good food and Irish music, where a grand wake was held in his honour.

Thursday, 7 February 2008


The term graffiti comes from the Greek word to write, and can be defined as images or lettering painted, scratched, carved, or marked in some way on property or natural landmarks. It can be anything from a scratch to words, to a wall painting, examples have been found all over the world and date from the earliest times. Ancient examples can be found in such diverse places as the ruins of Pompeii, the catacombs of Rome and the Great Wall of China to name just a few. Often graffiti carries a social or political message, or may just be the means by which the writer can mark "I was here". Considered by most as destructive vandalism that defaces property, there are also those who value the artistic merit of contemporary graffiti artists with their free expression, individual tags, and colourful spray-can paintings.

The A/NZ Art Quilt online group set this month's Journal themes as graffiti or colour, with suggested technques of collage or layering. This is my piece.

It is made with cotton damask which has been painted with acrylic paints, stamped, stencilled with shiva paintsticks and permanent markers, written on, layered with fabric printed with symbols on the computer, with other bits of raw edged or torn fabric appliqued by machine, and then machine quilted. The edge is faced, rather than bound as I did not want it to look too quilt like. I'm calling it "Forget me not".

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Gardener's Friend

Useful bug, and coincidentally, a hair from Maggie the collie.

Monday, 4 February 2008

What am I old enough to remember??

Thinking about the current TIF challenge has stirred up some distant memories:-

Small glass bottles of concentrated orange juice and cod liver oil available to children in the UK on the National Health - to prevent scurvy! Juice was fine, cod liver oil was foul.

Ration books for certain foods, even in the early 50's.

Walking on a particular beach at Bangor in Northern Ireland when visiting my Grandparents.

Blueing bags used to make washing white.

The coronation, and drawing endless pictures of crowns, septre and orb, as well as the Queen in her gold carriage.

Watching early black and white TV - Bill and Ben the Flowerpot men, and Muffin the Mule.

Roller skates with metal wheels.

Milk delivered in bottles with gold caps and two inches of thick cream on the top.

My Father's brown and white Chevvy 'Belair', proudly purchased in 1954 when we lived in the States for a while.

Meeting Lyndon Baines Johnson in Washington about 1954 when he was just a senator from Texas.

My gorgeous Mother wearing dresses like these - one in particular was white with navy spots.

My first sewing machine which was one of these.

Still not sure what I shall do for the challenge though....

Sunday, 3 February 2008

Sailors delight

These were taken at 8.45 this evening. They do not do justice to the beauty of the sunset.

Tip treasures

The last couple of days have been spent having a major clean up in my large garden, neglected for a while as I stitched and nursed my previously frozen shoulder, in case it froze up again. It seemed fine, so I could avoid my overgrowing jungle no more. I pruned trees, removed two large shrubs that were in the wrong place, pulled out mountains of spent annuals, and generated piles of weeds - all far too much for my compost heap, so a run to the local tip was required.

Now I'm not good at backing a trailer, and not knowing the current state of our local tip, I enlisted a friend to come with me in case I needed help, because we all know one of the essential skills for a good bloke is the ability to back a trailer in restricted spaces without damaging anything. There was a problem initially in that we found one tyre on the trailer was flat, so I had an impromptu lesson in wheel changing before we set out to successfully dump an enormous load without having to back the trailer at all. Feeling very pleased with ourselves, we decided to check out the "tip shop" before returning home. Now that is really an euphemism for tired junk that no one wants, but might be useful to someone else - a bit like a really bad garage sale.

I found two items - a dirty and dusty bottle with its stopper, and a small bedside table. The bottle cost 20 cents, and the table $4 - bargains both. The bedside table needs to be cleaned, and perhaps given a lick of fresh paint, but then shabby chic is OK too. When I got the bottle home and cleaned it, it was in perfect condition, no chips or marks. It is very heavy glass, with a ground glass stopper, and I think is probably Swedish. My good friend H has an identical one which she thinks was made by Orrefors. This is it now filled with a very delicious muscat.

Friday, 1 February 2008

February TIF

Firstly, thanks to those who have left such positive comments about my January pieces, both here, on the TIF Blog, and Flickr In fact for those not involved in TIF I recommend that you get a cup/glass of your favourite tipple and have a good look at these sites to see the wonderful variety of ways in which January's themes have been interpreted by so many talented people. The Blog rings on the side are another great way of spending time online - I'm certainly guilty of that!

The theme and/or optional colours for February were set this morning. The theme relates to a question.... " What are you old enough to remember?" To be interpreted in any way one chooses.

These are the colours.

I think the nearest DMC thread numbers are, in order left to right:-

828, 334, 3047, 311, 436.

(3/2/08 - I have edited these numbers since the original posting as when I checked again in a better light, I decided these were better. Interestingly there are two totally different list of numbers on the TIF blogsite, with no one number common to both!)

At this stage I have no idea what I shall do this month, so shall be thinking for a while before I begin. February promises to be a little hectic with this and another challenge to complete as well as some other stuff happening, so I had better make a start on something useful!