Saturday, December 31, 2011

sitting still

My car is parked, the house is quiet:  time to just sit and think a little.

It has been a very busy year with some stress and sadness and lots of happiness.

As the year ends I guess I could look back and analyze what I have achieved and what I have failed to do (or done badly) but I think I shall just look forward.  There is nothing I can do about the past but the future is mine: I hope I can be creative, maybe a little better at housework, a good wife, mother, grandmother, neighbor and friend.  I know it will be a busy year: that is the way I like it.  


Monday, December 26, 2011


There is no time for stitching at present but each day the garden produces something very special.

today this beautiful gardenia bloomed for the first time.

Isn't it glorious.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Water Lily

It is Sunday evening and we are relaxing after a lovely day with family.

We have had a problem with our internet again so I didn't have a chance to wish my followers and friends a happy Christmas.

I do hope everyone enjoys the holiday season and feel refreshed and creative when this busy time of the year is over.

Yesterday my water lily bloomed for the first time.  It is always so exciting to achieve something new and I have wanted to try to grow a water lily for years.  Success!

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Summer Solstice

Today is the longest day of the year: the summer solstice here in Australia.  

It is also my birthday and I have had a lovely day.  Several emails and calls from friends and family were great and then this evening I saw my husband's Aunt and Uncle (in UK)  on Skype which was good.  As usual on Wednesdays I minded the little twins, Chelsea & Caitlin and my father in law is staying with us.  

These days we don't buy presents for each other unless there is something we particularly want.

The pic on the right shows what I received from my dear husband.

This little raised garden is outside our bedroom window and has always been really messy.  I have been wanting pebbles to finish it off and so this week I received 12 bags of pebbles.  That is what I call a perfect gift.

Oh, by the way, the first pic is of a Santa I made last year.  It is my own design and is called Swaggy Santa, reflecting the Australian bush. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

The spirit of the season

 As Christmas day approaches the days are busy and mostly happy but yesterday, Sunday, I popped out to a local shopping centre to buy a couple of things.  At the entrance to the car park there is a pedestrian crossing: as I turned in there were two young women chatting, one of them standing on the crossing. If someone is on the crossing motorists are required to stop.  I wound down my window and politely mentioned that this lady was standing on the crossing.  Her friend apologised but the young woman who was on the crossing told me what I could do, in most unladylike words.  You know it really upset me: it kind of stained the day.

On the other hand I have received some gorgeous hand made cards in the post and some lovely goodies from Judy and today a parcel arrived from Corrine at    I have always enjoyed Corrine's blog and love her approach to her art.  Corrine recently opened an etsy shop and I took the opportunity to buy myself a gift.  It arrived today and I will try to take a pic tomorrow and show you.  

I have been trying to finish off a few small items each evening.  The first pic is Polly Pinkeeper.  The second is a button embellished with beads and buttons.  The last is another toggle using an aboriginal designed fabric.

Friday, December 16, 2011

This pretty button is silk ribbon on silk dupion.

Very sweet I think.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

more little stitcheries

I am gradually working my way through the little stitcheries for my wall hanging.

This project has become a bit of a chore and I am contemplating putting it aside for a while in the hope that my enthusiasm returns.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas Tree

The tradition in our house is to make our own tree each year.

It doesn't appeal to everyone but I am always very happy with it.

First I find some small branches from the wood pile.  This is not as easy as it seems because none of the branches is quite right so it is the overall effect that matters.

Unfortunately it is necessary to spray the branches with insect killer as the gum nuts can harbour all manner of crawlies: I don't mind them but they seem to disturb some people.

 I don't decide on the colour or number of decorations until the branches are selected and in their pot.

This year I decided on silver - all of these decorations are ones I have used before - some of them I have had for years.

I am not sure whether I should add lights.  I like the simplicity but we always have lights.  Lots of lights.

Of course it is light until really late here because we have daylight saving and we are close to the solstice (longest day) so lights really are a bit obsolete.

If the "tree" stays intact after christmas I usually leave it in place and decorate it again for Easter or just hand things on it that please me.

By the winter it is usually kindling wood for the fire in the dining room.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011


I have been sorting out my Christmas tree decorations and thought you might like to see some that I have made for previous years.

Most of them are made with felt and have sequins added and bells inside.

My daughter made the red and green ball out of a polystyrene shape and sequins.

One of the stars is embellished crazy patychwork.

Tomorrow I should have my tree well on its way.  It is a process.

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Monday, December 5, 2011


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I took these photos from the plane as we returned to Melbourne from Northern NSW in October.

I am always fascinated by the clouds, and the patchwork of paddocks below. The open spaces soon make way for houses and factories: and then the airport itself.

Over the past few years we have made this journey to visit my father-in-law: for many years the ground below was brown and dry. The creeks and dams were dry. There were no grazing animals or crops. The drough covered much of the country.

Now the paddocks are green, the creeks are flowing and the dams are full.

This vast land of ours is so beautiful ( I have not seen even half of it) and at the same time so treacherous. We are often impacted by drought or flood or bush fires and yet it offers so much. Beautiful flora and fauna. A glorious coastline.

I am going on tonight. We don't have a thanksgiving holiday here but goodness we have so much to be thankful for.

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Saturday, December 3, 2011

buttons & brooches

These are two more completed brooches. The centre one is another Christmas themed piece.
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Friday, December 2, 2011

glorious gladioli

These lovely gladioli grow in my garden without any help from me. They were already in the garden when we moved here and they multiply each year.

They really don't seem to fit in with the other plants in my garden but you must agree they are really lovely. The dark one is a tomato red and the other is salmon pink.

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Thursday, December 1, 2011

crazy quilting

I am thinking of joining a crazy quiliting challenge next year and so today I was looking for suitable fabrics.

This is not something I feel terribly confident about so I have to think carefully before I commit to it.

So far I have joined a class starting next February and also the TAST challenge. Perhaps I can use these together with the crazy quilting challenge.

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Monday, November 28, 2011

online courses & roses

I have been wondering lately about the value of online courses and tutorials.

If you have participated in any of these or offer such a course/tutorial I would love to know about it.

I have recently completed a course with Karen Raune and one with Carole Brungar.

The projects were quite different as were my reasons for doing them.

As these were the first two online courses I have taken I was not sure what to expect so I think I was pleased with both of them.

The photo is just one of my roses which I have altered using the options in Picasa.
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Thursday, November 24, 2011

cutwork with silk ribbon flower

This little silk ribbon flower on satin seemed just right for popping in behind some cutwork: it was just a little practice piece which I did years ago and the lilac fabric is part of  a recycled bed sheet.  The cut out circle is finished with button hole stitch and chain stitch.  

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

felting with the embellisher

I was looking for a particular piece of fabric when I came across the pictured piece of work.  It consists of scraps felted to a piece of green felt using the embellishing machine.

I intend to add some bling and make something amazing - well I hope that I am inspired to make something with it!


I have finished some of the pieces for my "Road to my house" wall hanging.  I have decided to put this aside now so I can do some sewing for Christmas.  

Oh and my camera had a lovely rest and is talking to me again.
Technology - it is quite beyond me but I am pleased that I don't need to make any decision about a new camera just now.

Monday, November 21, 2011

faux cutwork button

This button is finished!!!!  I used silk for the foundation fabric and used perle cotton thread for the button hole lace around the central motif. The rest of the embroidery was done using single strands of hand dyed silk thread.  The stitches used are button hole stitch, french knots, spider web roses, stem stitch, seed stitch and chain stitch and probably some I have forgotten.   When damping the piece down for damp stretching I added some colour to soften the background fabric which looked too harsh.  The button is 4.5cm across.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Being a tour Guide

This week friends from New Zealand were in Melbourne for the Presidents Cup golf tournament.  Fortunately for me Sue was happy to catch up for a day of talking and looking at some of the sites in our beautiful city.

We don't see each other often but always have plenty to talk about.  After having a chat and planning our day we set out on a very hot (35degrees) windy day.  Our first stop was St.Pauls Cathedral which is a very beautiful building with lots of things to see.  Beautiful architecture, tiled floors, timber roofing, huge columns - I could go on.    It really is worth a visit if you are in Melbourne. 
After that we crossed Flinders Street, taking in the view of Flinders Street Station which is our central suburban railway station.
We were headed for Federation Square and in particular the Ian Potter Centre which is part of the National Gallery of Victoria.  They had several really interesting things happening in the various spaces there but we were particularly interested in the "Man Style" exhibition. 

It was really fascinating to see the evolution of fashion in menswear.  I was especially interested in embroidery and buttons on some of the garments.

We also managed to see lots of other works of art - ancient and modern.  A day spent with Sue is great fun as well as a fantastic opportunity to learn more - Sue has been an art teacher and is an artist in her own right and is part of a group promoting sculpture in her home city in New Zealand.
I feel like a sponge soaking up so much information.  It really is a treat.

Melbourne boasts some interesting public sculpture so it was a perfect day.  The menfolk were at the golf and although we had planned an evening meal together it was not to be.  My darling husband has a horrid chest infection and couldn't go out so we came home just as another storm approached.


Saturday, November 19, 2011

cameras & windows

My camera is refusing to talk to me so I am showing you a picture of one of the side windows in our house.

It is typically Australian leaded glass work and several of the houses in this street have similar windows.  

I took this picture because I am thinking of moving the window panels to another area of the house.

Our new tv is opposite these windows and we find that during the day many of the programmes we view feature these gorgeous images.  The sun shines right on them which is beautiful but................

Anyway if anyone has suggestions about a new camera (easy to use and modest price) I would be glad to hear from you.  I feel quite lost without my constant companion.  My camera is like a second pair of eyes and a memory bank which I use often.  

Oh I meant to explain about the header:  when I was at the beach a couple of weeks ago the thong was on the beach - abandoned.  There was no-one swimming - in fact no one else on the beach at all.  It just needed to be photographed.

See I do need a camera.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

finding time to stitch and time to write

They say that as you grow older the days seem to fly by.

Well I can assure you that I don't seem to have enough hours in the day or days in the week.

I have to snatch a few minutes here and there to do some stitching.

The first pic is of a button I am making - the piece is being damp stretched.

The second is part of my wall hanging.  It depicts something you will often see at the beach: a shower where you can wash off the salt and sand. These facilities were turned off during the drought of the past decade but now that water is available they are on again.

I have been making some dorset buttons.  They are quite relaxing to make and I can do them while watching TV or minding the little girls.


It is a way of using up some of my threads.  This one is actually yellow and green and needs a bit more work.

Friday, November 11, 2011

little stitcheries.

These little stitcheries are for my wall hanging.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

seaside again

Today I went on a little drive to Rosebud beach - doesn't the name sound lovely. It is a summer holiday place and can look a bit tatty when the holiday makers are not there.

This is the way I like it though - time for quiet walks and many photo opportunities.

The collage shows some of the vegetation found around the area of the Rosebud Pier.

Mostly grasses and at present lots of seed pods ready to be picked up by the wind.

We had a big thunder storm last night and lots of rain but this afternoon was sunny and still. Rather humid at home but lovely and fresh by the bay.

There was a huge container ship passing through the port phillip heads. This is the entrance to the ports of Melbourne. It is a very narrow area of water and has to be carefully navigated. It is always amazing to see such huge vessels setting out on their long journey.

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Sunday, November 6, 2011

christmas is on its way

As the festive holidays approach I thought I would make a brooch to wear on the day but I wanted it to be something I could wear anytime.

The stitches include bullion stitches, french knots and and spider web flower in the centre.  Buttons fill the spaces.  Because this is on a dome shaped button I had to be sure there would be no fabric showing through so the stitching and the beading is very tightly packed and took many hours to do.
The outer edge is bullion stitches and button hole lace very casually put together.  Again I wanted to be sure there was no fabric showing.  I think in future I would use a coloured fabric for the background instead of the white silk.  

Several people have asked about the size of the buttons and brooches I have been making.

The buttons are 5cm across and the toggle on the previous posting is 5.5cm long and 1 cm across the end.

Thanks also to everyone who comments on this blog.  I really appreciate all the feedback and encouragement.

Friday, November 4, 2011

toggles and buttons

I am so far behind with so many things I am beginning to think I shall never catch up.

The course with Karen Raune is finished and I am only half way through.  Of course I can continue on as the information is still available.  This has been a really challenging and interesting course.

This is a toggle which is made using some cotton fabric with an aboriginal design.

My stitching could be a lot better but I am not going to point out the faults.  Suffice to say that I am happy with it.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Free Machine Stitching

These small pieces of stitching are part of my wall hanging "The Road to my House".  

My free machine stitching was a bit of a challenge but I am reasonably pleased with them.  The next step is to embroider and embellish them.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

My wall hanging is finished (at last).

The backing fabric is black and I have decorated it with some twigs, leaves and small gum nuts from our garden.

Before I put it on the backing I damped stretched it.  The picture shows it pinned to the cork board ready for spraying with water.

I was a little concerned that some of the colour in the threads might run but all was well.

This is to hang in our lounge room.

I am pleased to see it finished because I have been distracted by other things lately