Tuesday, December 08, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here pt 1

Today is the first day in several weeks when I could relax and not worry about meeting my costume deadline. The Dancing Studio show was last night, a huge 10th anniversary show featuring a lot of my costumes made in the past 10 years during the 4 hour gala. I finished and delivered the last 4 pieces at midday during the final dress rehearsal and thankfully everything fitted well. Nothing like cutting it fine, but then that's show business isn't it? Now if our Summer weather would just co-operate and settle into warm but not oppresive I could get on with everything else that needs to be done before Christmas !

Here is the cover of the latest Embroiderers' Guild NSW members' magazine The Record which features my miniature patchwork quilt on the cover. My local Cumberland Group provided work for the October room exhibition at the Guild rooms, and this piece was chosen to feature on the cover. I'm quite proud of this piece, the hexagons were based on our smallest coin available back in 2000, the 1 cent piece. The biro was photographed with the bed to give some scale.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Short and Sweet

It's late at night here and I have to admit I'm rather weary. This little treasure (holding a PS2 controller!) is one of the reasons, Miss Amelie stays with me now for 6 hours 2 days per week while her mum goes to work. At 10 1/2 months she's such a cutie, and just learning to commando crawl (that's using her forearms to drag herself along and pushing at the same time with her feet) Of course now you can't leave her to pop to the bathroom or out to the clothes line because she won't be in the same spot when you get back !! It's been so hot here the last few days, 2 days in a row of 40 C degrees plus so the air con has been running flat out. I'll need to work hard to offset the carbon emissions now, won't I?

I'm also very busy at present making costumes for the Dancing Studio end of year show, so this will have to be a short and sweet post for now. Hooroo !!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Stitches and Craft Show de-brief

The last month has just flown by for various reasons. I haven't been entirely idle, just catching up on sewing commitments for the Dancing Studio, doing alterations for family members and making ATC for my online swap group.
The big display at the Stitches and Craft show was very well received, 39 pieces of pink themed work on display and over 450 people voted in the Viewer's Choice competition. It's very gratifying to see your hard work mounting a display rewarded with such positive comments, and of course the work featured was just brilliant as well. I think I can safely publish a photo now, in a few day's time the winner of the whole competition will be a announced anyway. I can tell you now that the overall winner of the Viewers' Choice comp was different to the Judges' Choice, isn't that interesting?

The volunteers (wo)manning the display

The winner of the Viewer's Choice is just to the right of the lady with the long sleeved striped shirt, called "Jane McGrath's Rose" it features the rose named after the wife of one of our Australian national cricketers who died from Breast Cancer after a long battle. The rose was 3D with stumpwork petals in a pale pastel pink, so beautiful. Wish I'd been the lucky embroiderer, but alas I had no time to enter the competition this time. Perhaps the next challenge?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Just a quick note..

This week in Sydney I'm working at the Stitches and Craft Show at Rosehill Racecourse for the Embroiderers' Guild, stand 120 on level 3. I set up on Tuesday, and will now work Thursday, Friday and Sunday, whew !! It'll be good though to sit and stitch and talk about embroidery with like minded folks, as well as showcase our Guilds' latest group project, the Pink Ribbon Challenge. 40 pieces of work were hung on Tuesday, including bags, hangings, sachets, framed pictures and unframed panels. Quite stunning really, will post up photos after the event.

I've been a bit slack lately, popping around reading other blogs and not posting on my own, but time has been very limited. One particular blog I'd love to plug is Pat Winter's Gatherings, where you'll find lots of great work showcased and even a link to her "store" if you'd like to own some of her work yourself. Or you might be lucky and win the latest giveaway if you sign up and mention her blog yourself, VBG. I'd certainly love one Pat's little birds nest necklaces to come and live in Oz. Fingers crossed?

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Alert ! Cuteness ahead !

While I'm in a nostalgic mood (must be all the coverage of the Michael Jackson memorial service on the TV affecting me !) I thought I share a couple of photos of the progress of the grandkids.

Riley is now nearly 11 months old, and has take a few tentative steps on his own. He has about 5 teeth, and is a real little boy now.

This professional photo was taken in May, we call it his "supermodel shot"

Of course he follows Wests Tigers, a western Sydney Rugby League team followed by 4 generations on his fathers' side as well as on his mothers' side of the family.

Amelie is 6 months old this weekend, boy time really flies doesn't it !!

She's at the rolling over stage, but hasn't quite mastered rolling front to back yet, so gets quite frustrated and squeals loudly.

I think she gets her temper from her mummy, and from me before that. I was a terror when I was a teenager, I gave my mum and dad a terrible time when I didn't get my own way!

She's the happiest little girl most of the time, and rewards us with great big smiles.

There's quite a family resemblance, I have photos of myself and my other daughters which compare very favourably with Amelie at various ages, then occassionally she's the spitting image of her Daddy. And isn't that just how it should be, ? My husband and I are very lucky new grandparents, our children have presented us with adorable grandkids and we look forward to watching their further progess as they grow up.

Miss Muffet had a dolly....

My friend MaryAnne at Magpies Mumblings really started something with her photos of childhood dolls. I immediately pulled my own childhood friends from their safe box in the top of the wardrobe to compare.

Luckily I still have my friends Margaret, a Pedigree hard plastic walking doll from the late 1950's and Sue a vinyl Roddy doll from the early 60's and an even older Panda bear from the very early 1950's. Panda was given to me for my christening I believe and used to have a music box in his back. He has glass button eyes (a real no-no these days) and is a little worse for wear, but I'd never part with him. Margaret has not walked for many years, you would hold her hands and pull her towards you and she'd "walk" along with a rocking motion. I think my pesky younger brothers may have thrown her down a few too many times and broken pieces off the hips, and her seams are starting to open a little. This, according to my online rsearch, is not unusual with this type of hard plastic, and led to the invention of soft vinyl dolls.

Sue is marked "Roddy" on the back of her head, but it doesn't specify her country of manufacture. According to one online source, when the English factory closed in the early 1950's the molds were sold on, so perhaps her head was molded from one of those molds and assembled in Australia? I don't imagine my family could have afforded an imported doll when I was a girl, we were pretty poor back then. She still has her original lemon nylon dress and hat, but her little socks, panties and shoes are gone. Mum used to make her some great clothes, I still have some of them too. They included
- A complete school uniform with tunic, blouse, knitted beret and cardigan,
- A ski outfit with skis Dad made from pieces of shaped wood and ski poles from knitting needles and toy car tyres,
- A Red Riding Hood costume with a plastic basket, cape and dress
and lots of other knitted bits and pieces.
We used to enter Sue in the doll competitions at the school fetes, these were REALLY popular back in the 50's and 60's here, and you would raise money for the school by collecting votes (in coins) from your family and friends. We won quite a few prizes for best dressed doll.

I think the dolly dressing probably started my love affair with clothing and dressing up, so you see it's never to early to encourage the kids in something they like, you never know where it may lead them !!

PS I was very pleased today that my vinyl dolly Sue had not deteriorated badly. While re-arranging my wardrobes about 6 months ago I noticed she had a few spots and marks. I sponged her with warm soapy water, dried her well and laid her down in a cardboard box with air holes before returning her to the cupboard. So far, so good. Apparently these dolls can often suffer from Pedigree Disease where the vinyl can get greasy and spotty from poor storage, especially in plastic bags and boxes. It's very hard to treat, so I caught Sue just in time I think.

Another convict bonnet made

A while ago I was commissioned to make another decorated convict bonnet for the "Roses from the Heart" project. This is the result, a calico bonnet for one Sarah Hurley. She was an Irish convict lass convicted of larceny (theft) in County Cork Ireland and sentenced to transportation in New South Wales in 1836. Her ship was the Pyramus which landed her at Sydney Cove in December of that year after a 4 month voyage.

I chose to decorate the brim of the bonnet with a shamrock comprised of 3 hearts stitched in chain stitch for the convict chains. 3 large silk ribbon embroidered roses are surrounded with colonial knot babies breath and 7 small silk ribbon rosebuds for her 7 children. Sarah had married another convict William Jones in 1838. They lived in both the Windsor and Parramatta districts of New South Wales and when she died in 1889 aged 75 years she was buried in Mays Hill Cemetery near Parramatta.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

An 80th Birthday Bash

My mother turned 80 recently, and my youngest brother suggested we do something special. Mum has never visited Linnwood so a tour and luncheon was organised. Invitations were secretly designed, printed and mailed by my brother's partner. My children helped with catering and decorating the hall, and an elaborate "white lie" got Mum to the venue, a little late, on the pretext of attending a talk about vintage fashion. I had to cover at the last minute by saying that they had arrived not long after the organisers, who had a car breakdown. I was waiting for a thunderbolt to strike me down, LOL. Mum raised us well, so I'm not good at telling fibs.

Linnwood set up for the luncheon before the tour

Textile ATC trading

It's been over 12 months since I began making and trading textile Artist Trading Cards (ATC), would you believe my collection now amounts to 316 cards? I'm amazed at the variety and creativity that people achieve in these tiny 2 1/2 inch by 3 1/2 inch works of art. I belong to Southern Cross Quilters or Scquilters, an online group of Australians, New Zealanders and expats living overseas. The ATC group numbers over 100 and most began trading originally because there was a Scquilters retreat in Perth, some attendees were going to be swapping ATC and we would miss out on all the fun. It was decided we needed a Cheer Me Up Swap for the stay-at-homes in April 2008. Our valiant List Mum Mandy keeps us all in order (most of the time) She encourages us to suggest themes,then she posts them up for us to sign up, usually in groups of 6. We make 6 identical cards, keep one for ourselves and swap 5, that means we each then have a group of 6 different cards in a set theme. So far I've swapped such various themes as Jungle Animals, Chooks, several colours, Anzac Day, Christmas food, favourite things, I'm sure you get the idea. I haven't featured many of my cards here for a while, I've forgotten to photograph so many that I'll never post them all, but here's a few to whet your appetite. I also posted a little tut on how I make my cards here

I also swap internationally through my Stitchin Fingers ATC swap group, where we swap with the next person on a list of swappers, and a few privately arranged swaps with internet friends happen from time to time.

A Christmas card for Anne in France

We also started a Birthday Swap on the Scquilters ATC group, with 29 members. Each person makes a card for the birthday girl or boy and sends it along at the appropriate time. So on January 1 this year, I looked forward to receiving 29 cards from the group.

Some of my birthday swap cards received Jan 09

This is the card I made for our List Mum Mandy, who loves silk ribbon embroidery. I'm only a beginner, but I think it turned out quite well.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

May musings

May just flew by, very busy times with lots to do for other people. The Dancing Studio has kept me busy with some costumes. I'll be posting about that on my costume blog later.

I'm still trying to catch up on my ATC swaps, nearly caught up once, then slipped behind again. Now I owe an international one as well, and must get that away this week or I'll be banned from future swaps, VBG.

Also this month I've made 2 trips to Bathurst to design and make 2 outfits for an 1880's travelling lady and a coach driver. The gent owns an original restored Cobb and Co coach, and his partner wanted to dress appropriately at their latest display. I went up on the XPT train, about a 3 hour trip for a fitting in early May, then again this past weekend to deliver the finished clothes and attend the display at Colonial Day at Abercrombie House in Bathurst.
The brochure describes the property as a Scottish Baronial mansion, and they weren't kidding, I was blown away by the sheer size of the place. Tours were being conducted inside the house, and lots of activities were taking place outside. Here are a couple of photos to whet your appetite, more to follow in the next post.

The tourists listening to information from the owner's son prior to the self guided tour.

The side of the house showing the tower and spires.

Lachlan Living History Group joined with 2 other groups to stage a battle between bushrangers, troopers (police) and soldiers (73rd Regiment of Foot) in a roped area in the front paddock. Spectators were treated to black gunpowder shooting, horses galloping and soldiers marching with fixed bayonets against the thieving bushrangers. This was an unrehearsed performance which seemed as much fun for them as for the audience, and due to the dull weather the photos of the shooting turned out quite eerily. It was great to see the attention to detail in the costuming too, which is my area of interest and expertise.

I also enjoyed lots of wildlife on the weekend including kangaroos, emus, king parrots, lemon tailed black cockatoos, horses and dogs. If the weather had been kinder, I would have been in absolute heaven. But Bathurst in May outdoors high on a hill ..... well the daytime temp was probably about 10 degrees celsius. Luckily I had my purple woollen overcoat and "gumnut baby" knitted hat to wear all day. The area has a certain appeal as a retirement location eventually, but my home would need good heating and cooling, I'm such a wus when it comes to weather extremes !! I'm sure I'll be going again with the better half later in the year to see Abercrombie and visit other Bathurst delights.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

April ? Surely not!!

I honestly don't know where this year's gone to, now I can imagine how Rip Van Winkle felt, I've lost 1/3 of a year! It has been very busy at our place between family and building works, but really Easter can't have gone by already??
We spent a very pleasant 4 day weekend with family visiting on the Sunday for a meal. It was only take-away pizza I'm afraid, but don't they say it's not what you eat but the company you keep? Well in that case, we dined like kings, VBG. The 2 grandchildren of course brought their own tucker and had us all besotted for hours. My mother. who turns 80 soon, was delighted to see her kids, grandkids and great-grandkids all together, and really that was all I needed too.

There hasn't been a LOT of stitching happening around here, I've been making groups of themed ATCs to swap online at my group, and I've included a photo here of the last group received just today. There's a face-to-face retreat happening in Adelaide, South Australia this month but those not able to attend decided once again to swap Cheer Me Up cards. I made a dozen cards and sent those in to be swapped out for another dozen.

Aren't they all wonderful and cheerful? My own cards were in different colourways of the same print and embellished with my latest toy, a Bejeweller. It puts little Swaroski crystals onto nearly anything with a heated tool, such fun to plan where to use it. I'll photograph the one I kept and post that soon.

Some other stitching was the class sample for the YTFG club where I'm the Leader. I made a canvaswork wristcuff based on a design shown by another Club Leader Del White at our recent Annual Leaders' Meeting. Our Club is a little smaller this year with a few members busy now with High School and sporting committments, but 4 young ladies really enjoyed making there own version of this design 2 weeks ago.

The following day I took a workshop with Margaret Stephens on Reticella style needle lace at our NSW Lace Day. Here's my sample today:

The bottom rectangle shows 4 sided stitch border, the middle rectangle shows corded satin stitch inside 4 sided stitch and counting started for withdrawn thread blocks. The top rectangle shows some needle weaving begun and 2 filling stitches worked. Not much progress for a 2 day workshop I know, but I'm a slow stitcher!! Apologies for the crooked scan, linen is hard to scan sometimes! Hopefully some more progress soon.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Stitch Explorer - Chicken Scratch

I'm a little behind in Sharon B's latest challenge, so I haven't even signed up for it yet. On January 15th Sharon asked us to explore the technique of Chicken Scratch embroidery, so at the February meeting of my children's stitching group we worked on some simple chicken scratch bookmarks on checked cotton gingham. For the older girls we worked more complicated designs while the younger members worked a basic flower woven into the cross stitches. We tried to do our best cross stitch, with the top stitch always going in the same direction, and most of us succeeded, LOL. Here are my class samples, fused onto some vilene and pinked on the ends to neaten them up. I didn't have time to take photos of the actual childrens' work, they were so excited to have finished their bookmarks that they all bounded out the door to show their parents before I could get out my camera. Next time I'll be quicker off the mark.

Family update for March

I'm so glad to be back, it seems so long since I've had time to post here. The re-building work is finished (finally) after 10 weeks. I know exactly how long it's been since the builders arrived the day after my 2nd grandchild Miss Amelie Jane arrived on 11th January. I'm very pleased to say that her progress has been remarkable compared to the slowness of our building work. There were many problems with the finishing off in our new 3 way bathroom and laundry, which resulted in tiler and painter paying repeated re-visits to put things right (well in our eyes anyway.) I don't think it's unreasonable to expect the new work to be as well finished as the damaged rooms were before the fire, do you? What we now have is quite modern and hopefully easy to keep clean in my dotage, VBG. Pictures will follow as soon as I can get the floor cleaned to my satisfaction after the re-grouting earlier this week!!

Yesterday I spent a wonderful lunch time with both my little grandchildren and my mother. My DIL (Riley's mum) hosted a lunch for my Mum (Nannie), my DD#1 (Amelie's mum), my SIL (with new baby Jorja) and me. Jorja is my middle brother's second family with his current partner, and very lucky to be here. Her mummy had IVF treatment, then developed diabetes and liver problems. She was delivered by C section on 11th February about 6 weeks early weighing around 5lbs. In the photo Jorja is joining Amelie on the play mat for some cousin time. I'm sure little Jorja will bring much happiness to her parents' lives.

Of course Master Riley enjoyed his little cousins' visit too, he was most interested in the girls' hair, since he has very little himself. A very happy little bloke he is too, and shared all his toys very well.

I was so glad Nannie (my 79 year old mum) got to spend time with all 3 babies. You never know what tomorrow will bring at her age, so here's a photo of Nannie with Amelie her 9th great grandchild.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Bushfires, babies and chicken scratch!

A bit of a mixed bag in this post, hence the stange title.

Tonight on the TV the Nine Network is hosting the Red Cross Bushfire Appeal, and it's very heartening to see that over $60 million AUD has been raised already since last Sunday for the victims of the horrific fires in Victoria. We're particularly humbled that so many of our overseas friends have responded to our calls for help. It just proves that old cliche that it's a small world and we should all help each other in times of natural disaster no matter what political or religious persuasion we might be. Thanks to everyone for your generosity.

Some of the ladies in my ATC swap group live in the fire affected areas, and one in particular Lyn D. lives in Kinglake, which was all but wiped out on Saturday night. We hadn't heard from or about Lyn, and we all feared for her and her family. Thankfully today she was able to post on our group from her work. Her husband's business is gone, and one of her close relations lost their home, but Lyn is OK. We all breathed a collective sigh of relief for our "internet friend". I can't tell you how distracted I've been since the bad news about the fires first starting coming over the TV and radio. I'm really hoping that the cooler weather we've been having since Sunday will allow the fire fighters to gain control and eventually the fires will be put out so everyone can start rebuilding shattered lives.

On a happier note, my little granddaughter is gaining weight fast, she's even started giving little smiles (no, not wind !!) to people who hold her close and make eye contact.

The past 4 weeks have flown by but my poor DD#1 hasn't been able to get into much of a routine yet. She's been dealing with a fractious baby due to antibiotics she's been taking for a staph infection in the C section wound, then mastitis (ouch) needing more antibiotics and now thrush. I remember the delights of motherhood myself, VBG. I'll be visiting her again tomorrow to help for a while, the bonus is I get to spend some quality time with Miss Amelie Jane and her mum. I haven't been neglecting my grandson either, he's at that giggling stage and starting to teethe. Poor little bloke, he dribbles constantly. Hard to believe he's already 5 months old.

Not a lot to report on the stitching front I'm afraid, my grandiose plans to stitch on the Counted Thread Band Round Robin over the holidays fell through due to our re-building work commencing, the premature arrival of Amelie Jane and the darned heat. Now it's the middle of February already, and all the usual committments are starting again. I have my first kids embroidery class on Saturday, so I think I'll do a lesson about Chicken Scratch embroidery as featured in the Stitch Explorer from Sharon B.

I'll post my class sample here as soon as it's stitched, and a photo of the class work if I can remember to take the camera on Saturday, VBG.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A very hectic fortnight, part 2

Just now I'm using my hands in a different way than usual, and they're letting me know they don't like it one little bit. I've irritated my left carpal tunnel, so my fingers are tingling as well as lumpy and red from the heatwave we've been having here in Sydney. My best friends at the moment are an ice pack and Celebrex.

We've had the builders in for the past fortnight, working on our laundry and bathroom after a fire destroyed the floors under them both. See below the progress shots of the work on the laundry. The rooms have all been gutted back to the bare frames, and the burnt bits replaced. This involved propping up the whole corner of the house at one stage, on big Accrow supports. Quite scary really.

I've also had to do lots of tidying to prepare our living areas for cleaning after the smoke damage. I've been emptying a large entertainment unit and sorting out the kitchen so everything can be put away while the walls and ceilings are washed and re-painted. There's a wooden kitchen dresser to unpack so it can be moved to paint behind, and a small moveable pantry to be unpacked and shifted.

In our wisdom (!!!) we also decided to have 3 windows in the front of the house replaced at the same time. That involves emptying a bow fronted china cabinet of about 30 years of clutter, my bedroom needs sorting so that window can be pulled out, and the major job, the Sewing Room needs to be cleared right along one wall!!! I've already had 2 1/2 weeks to do it all, and time is running out fast to finish all my jobs. We expect the painters in about a week, but I estimate it will take about a week just to do the Sewing Room, without even touching the rest that still needs to be done. When I was despairing of being ready on time, the owner of the building firm was very helpful, putting a kindly hand on my arm and said, don't worry dear, we'll work around it !!! But I dread the thought of the builders standing on my built-in cutting table while all my storage and machinery is in-situ. So I've been filling up boxes with fabric, UFO's and haberdashery and moving them to the other end of the house at all hours of the day and night.

What's that old saying, Life is like a circus? Well we've been juggling visits to the new baby, trying to pick out vanities, choosing taps, tiles and paint colours and designing laundry tubs and storage all at the same time!!! Then a minor hurdle today when DH discovered a floor waste had been accidentally left out of one of the wet areas and the waterproofing was about to be laid! One unhappy plumber had to go back to the hardware and buy the correct fitting, which held him up even more. He finally finished the job about 5 pm, so now we've got to hold our noses for a couple of days while the floor "cures" before the tiler comes on Saturday. I'll be sooooooo glad when this is all over, all I can say is I HOPE I like the colours and things I've chosen. There's even a whisper about new blinds for the new front windows, as the old ones won't fit the new modern windows. Another dilemma, wood or metal venetians??

I've decided that the new laundry should have some purpose built storage and a broom cupboard!! Who would have thought that could be so exciting?? But for the first time in 30 years I'll be able to store the vacuum cleaner somewhere out of sight, out of mind, LOL !

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A very hectic fortnight !

I mentioned in my previous post that this past fortnight has passed in a blur of activity. The biggest event was the premature arrival of Miss Amelie Jane on Sunday 11th January. We made a dash to the hospital on the Sunday morning after DD#1 was admitted for monitoring on the Saturday evening. No-one really expected to be greeting a baby by midday on Sunday, especially the new mum and dad !

Luckily, despite a knotted umbilical cord and an emergency Caesarian section, the baby was fit and well. I noticed in a previous post that I mistakenly gave her length as 49cm (about 19 inches) when in fact she was 45 cm ( about 17 3/4 inches) but her weight was 2510 gms (about 5 lb 8 oz) These details will be important to her as she grows up, I'm sure, VBG.

Another small drama occured at day 3 when Amelie's blood sugar levels dipped and she had to go into the special care nursery for 24 hours till it stabilised. Finally the new family went home on the Thursday night for some well-earned rest. Unfortunately things took another interesting turn on Monday afternoon when DD#1 felt very unwell and her Caesar scar was red and sore. Back to the hospital for a check-up and sure enough, an infection was diagnosed. This time they were admitted to the Ante-natal section for some intense anti-biotic treatment and a quieter room was available (not usually so many visitors when there's not a new baby to play with you see!)

The best bit about this for me was that when we visited on Tuesday morning the new Dad was just getting ready to bathe the baby. When asked, I jumped at the chance to do it for them, we had such a nice bonding session Amelie and I. She's such a little doll, although a little unsettled just now, I'm sure it will pass soon. Arriving 4 weeks early, and 2 stints in hospital as well as the extreme heatwave we've been having in Sydney would unsettle anybody. I'm really enjoying my second grandchild and first granddaughter. Pop and I have already discussed having regular family get togethers every fortnight, if not more often, so that we can be part of both the grandkids early lives and so that the 2 little cousins can spend time together.

I'll post about the rest of the fortnight's activities very soon.

A textile update

The past 2 weeks has been so eventful I don't know where to begin to tell it all. As I sit here deciding what to document I feel a little guilty that there hasn't been more textile "stuff" lately for regular followers of this blog. So to remedy this I've taken a photo today of the progess of a WISP which started back in June when my SIL was first diagnosed with APL a rare form of Leukemia. Gail is doing really well at the moment, as you'll see in a future post, VBG. You may recall that I decided to co-ordinate a Healing Hearts Quilt for her to encourage and comfort her during treatment and recovery.

I decided on pink and blue hearts appliqued onto old fashioned floral blocks which she likes. So I cut and ironed hearts onto freezer paper and started collecting signatures. 40 hearts were secretly posted to friends and relations to write encouraging messages with a gel pen on each heart. With her colleagues help I even managed to send some to her kindergarten class, where kids drew on the blocks and the teachers wrote the kids names on for Gail to remember those she had to leave mid way through the year. Luckily the school was able to appoint the regular school substitute teacher to take Gail's class, the kids all knew her and settled remarkably well. That didn't stop her from worrying about them while she was sitting in the hospital hooked up to the chemotherapy treatment though, VBG.
As the hearts started returning I cut them out, removed the freezer paper then fused with Vleisofix to the 6 and 1/2 inch floral squares and hand appliqued around each one with 2 strands of cotton floss. I took Michelle Marvig's advice and chose a cream sashing with a small pattern to make the squares "pop up". I'm hoping to get the blocks all machined together and turned into a small lap rug in time to take it to school during the first term when Gail intends to return to teaching.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Welcome to Amelie Jane

It's been a very busy week or so around here, VBG. First we started sorting out rooms ready for the builders to make repairs after our house fire, then on Sunday 11th January our second grandchild and first granddaughter Miss Amelie Jane decided she couldn't wait till early February and put in an appearance in a rather dramatic way by emergency Caesarian section. Her mummy was almost prepared for her arrival at home, with baby basket and clothing all washed and ready, but when she went to the hospital on Saturday she thought it was just for a few hours of monitoring.

Doctor decided to induce labour but it soon became obvious baby was distressed so the decision was taken to perform the Caesarian, which was very lucky because the umbilical cord was knotted. Amelie weighted in at 5lbs 8 oz and was 49 cm long. Not so tiny really, but to me she seems like a little dolly as my own babies all weighed in over 7lbs 3oz up to 9lbs 4 oz. Only one slight setback with low blood sugar since Sunday, but her mother is up and walking well, feeling great and looking forward to home and a comfortable bed. The plan is to discharge them from hospital on Thursday so it's "all hands on deck" to transport all the flowers, toys and gifts home from the hospital. The photo shows Amelie at day 3, that's her daddy's hair she has there as mummy's was blonde and very fine. Chin, nose and eyes are all mummy though. Isn't she a cute little bundle?

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Photos of Vintage Underwear

As requested by a regular reader, VBG, I've photographed the vintage underwear bought recently and posted the photos on my costume blog Actually, I didn't personally model them, since they are Australian size 8 to 10, and I'm certainly NOT. My DD#3 Bron has kindly modelled for me, so pop over and have a look if you're curious.

Cyber Fyber Exhibition is open

(Photo courtesy Susan Lenz Cyber Fyber blog)

If you haven't heard about Susan Lenz's fabulous exhibition of internet textile art called Cyber Fyber by now, you haven't missed it !! It's online here. The word got around the textile blogs pretty quickly back in 2008 that Susan was offering trades of ATCs and Postcards, and that your own traded cards were going to be hung in an international exhibition of internet textile artists in Columbia, South Carolina, USA. beginning January 2009.

So textile artists / artisans from all around the world have been selecting one of Susan's cards from those offered online and sending their own to take its place. Now Susan has 160 plus ATCs and 220 plus postcards from us to display, as well as the works of selected invited artists. Australia is quite well represented, too, with about 7 or 8 different people showing their textile work. I traded an ATC with Aemelia Ars style lace on it (card number 143) and one of my postcards made for Sharon B.'s TIF Challenge last year (card number 207). If you'd like to look them up, go to the website, click on online exhibition on the right side in the Atc or Postcard category and scroll down. Comments on the cards are being collected for a Viewers Choice award, so please add comments if you like what you see. Can I say now I'm an internationally exhibited fibre artisan too, LOL?

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Christmas de-brief

Now, before you get too excited, the family did NOT all become nudists in the Christmas break, LOL. I just thought I'd take the opportunity during the holiday lull to tidy up a few loose ends for 2008.

I received a comment on a previous post asking where was the photo of my new little grandson Riley opening his Christmas gifts. I had to wait till his mum posted some on her Facebook page, so here they are.

He looks so cute in his Santa T-shirt!

Look at that earnest little face, not sure what this gift was as he got SO MUCH LOOT.

Then there were some ATCs traded with members of my Scquilters online group, 3 great sets for Christmas including Gold and White,

Christmas Trees

and Christmas Food.

And for the New Year, Let's Party and Happy New Year which have not yet all arrived. I also signed up for a Birthday Swap, so I'm expecting about 28 cards to arrive in the next week or so for my own birthday. Each person on the list makes one card and sends it to the birthday person during their birthday month. There were 2 of us on 1st January, Del is only the 3rd person I've known personally with a New Years' Day birthday. I went to school with another girl who co-incidentally had the same initials as myself, spooky eh?

The other loose end is to show you the Christmas ATC I traded with Anne L. in France, arranged by Doreen G. (see previous post) The first photo is my card to Anne, a silk print of an old fashioned Victorian christmas embellished with beads and braid.

Anne's card is a goregous cross stitched one featuring variegated stranded silk thread on a fine Aida type cloth. I'm so delighted with it, and thanks Doreen for suggesting the trade.

Holiday happenings

For several years in a row we have made an annual pilgrimage to Canberra, our nation's capital. Canberra was established halfway between Melbourne and Sydney, inland in the middle of the bush really. It was a planned city so there are circular drives and straight roads very much like wheels within wheels. There are mostly offices in the CBD while the population lives in satelite suburbs.

In 2007 for various reasons we weren't able to get away, so this year I was determined to have at least a few days down South to recharge our batteries. Eventually DH booked a room for 3 nights at the Crowne where we usually like to stay, next to the Casino right in the heart of the city and just a walk from all the eateries. So on Sunday 28th December we drove down, arriving after 3 hours which included a stop at historic Berrima.

On Monday we visited the Museum of Australia, a very modern building well worth seeing in its own right. Here is the view heading towards the entrance.

And the extension on the roof of the walkway from the carparking area, the kids love the path to nowwhere !

As well as the permanent exhibitions, this time there was an excellent exhibition about Charles Darwin. Lots of information about the man as well as his theory of Evolution of the Species. There were letters, journals, diaries, and a facsimile of his study at Down House during his later years. 2 live lizards were also on show, a beautiful green tree iguana with a long 3 foot tail, and a striped blue tongue lizard which looked like a model till he blinked !!

I'd also arranged to meet one of my web friends in Canberra so Doreen G. drove into Canberra and took me on a guided tour of the ACT Embroiderers' Guild headquarters. It was interesting to see how their Guild operates as compared to the NSW Guild. We have about 15 times as many members but probably operate out of smaller rooms than does the ACT Guild. Certainly sounds like the ACT members have a lot of fun and Doreen has her hands full co-ordinating the Recycled Goods tables and serving on the Guild committee. I really enjoyed meeting her in the flesh, and seeing her completed TIF crazy patchwork block cloth book so beautifully finished. Wish I'd been more disciplined with TIF in 2008, but there's hope for me 2009 with Sharon's Stitch Explorer each month.

On Tuesday we had tickets to the Degas exhibition at the National Gallery. We didn't take an audio tour, and perhaps that was one reason I was a bit dissapointed with the exhibition. Or it could have been that we went in the afternoon after a mixup at the hotel with our tickets, and we were a bit tired. The Exhibition was quite busy, and the crowd was 3 deep in front of some works. There were more prints and etchings than paintings, but the ones on show were worth seeing. I was most impressed with the scupltures and photos I guess. The Victorian man's obsession with the female nude figure always intriques me - the everyday clothing of the late Victorian women were so enveloping and modest, sombre in the British Empire after Prince Albert died. But behind closed doors, in certain establishments and on the Continent, oh la la !! I'll just say that the images typical of Victorian French postcards were very well represented in the Degas exhibition.

Wednesday saw us enjoying our 3rd large cooked buffet breakfast at the hotel then packing to start the homeward journey. I must say we dined very well on the whole trip, out to dinner 3 nights in a row and cooked breakfasts. Lunches were neccessarily smaller affairs, usually just a snack really. I can well imagine what my DH says when away on business, after being away for a long time and eating out you just feel like a cup of tea and a slice of toast with vegemite for your dinner sometimes!!

We detoured back to Berrima on the way home, as I hadn't been to my favourite antique shop for a couple of years and was itching to see what was in stock. Peppergreen's Antiques is a great rambling building with several large rooms. They regularly receive container loads from agents in Europe and I wasn't dissapointed with a recent shipment from France. Fabrics, threads, bed coverings, clothing of all sorts vied for my attention. I was determined though to buy myself something for my birthday to add to my Victorian and Edwardian underwear collection. I sorted through a bin labelled corsets and bras and reluctantly put them aside. There were several fabulous early brassieres made of pink satin fabric and ingenious in design, but not my era. There were bins full of glorious early 1920's and 1930's lingerie, all satin and lace and some completely hand embroidered which had to be put aside. In the end I chose 2 machine knitted woollen ladies combinations, pre WW1. They probably came from Europe as they look very warm complete with the divided crotch for WC convenience and below the knee legs. One has small gussets let into the front lowered neckline for accomodating the bosom, while the other is higher and has slits at the appropriate level with inserted gussets. Such a hoot, will try to photograph them and post later this week. I also bought 3 pairs of over the knee stockings. One in knitted lace is quite beautiful, one in plain cotton with the brand still stamped on the upper leg and one which is reputed to be a maid's stocking with a period mend on the toe and her initials worked in fine crossstitch on the top. Photographs to follow of those too.

So quite a nice short break, not long enough of course, but we hope to plan a few more such breaks in the near future.