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.