Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas 2010

My 2 Aussie santa figurines enjoying some sun in the yard

Well here it is New Year's Eve already, where did 2010 go? We had a relatively quiet Christmas here. Hubby had another back surgery on December 6th and in time we hope to see some improvement with feeling in his feet after the nerves in his lower back have de-compressed a little more. We didn't attend many parties pre-Christmas as he's been either lying or standing to rest his back since the op. Christmas is all about families for me at any rate, so I looked forward to seeing the grandkids faces when they opened their gifts and I wasn't dissappointed. Amelie liked her FP dolls house and Riley loved his FP ride on digger/trencher that Nan bought. I was still sewing 3 organza and net fairy skirts for children's gifts till 10 pm on Christmas Eve, but luckily my usual order for new dresses for Christmas for an old friend is postponed for a few weeks.

The weather in December was alternating rain and hot days, so we've been literally watching the grass grow in the yard and have engaged a regular "mowing man" now to save hubby's back. One hot day I gave Miss Amelie some red, yellow and green paint and a brush and set her up under the beach umbrella in the back yard. Mum bought her a paper mache reindeer, and she decorated it with much enthusiasm, not sure if she has talent for art yet though, VBG.

My santa figurine collection went on display in early December, and I'm sure they're breeding in the dark cupboard, LOL. I counted 75 all up, and they're certainly impressive displayed on the entertainment unit and sideboard. Only problem is, they all should come down on 12th night, or is that just the Christmas tree? Ours wasn't put up this year, but I think the house looked festive with the Santas and Christmas cards on display anyway.

Just a few of the santas on display

I'm not looking forward to packing all the Santas away, they're so cheery and I look forward to putting them up in a new way each year. I'm also in the middle of a carpet beetle and possible flee infestation in the house, so am busily vacuuming behind furniture, along skirting boards and putting down surface spray as I go along. I think I can blame the Sydney weather, or perhaps it's just my poor housekeeping skills, creativity keeps one very busy you know, LOL.

Friday, November 26, 2010

2011 Bead Journal Project

Fabulous work from the Bead Journal Project 2010 by Karen L. Cohen, see more here

Some people may remember that my key word for 2010 was "Focus"... Well I DID manage to focus on family quite a bit but I had hoped to spend more time focussing on my stitching, LOL. So in an effort to challenge me to find "even more focus" in 2011 I've signed up for the 2011 Bead Journal Project after seeing it at one of the many blogs I visit recently. Here is one of the 3 blogs created for the 2010 Bead Journal Project to inspire us all. Registration ends on Wednesday 8th December (US time) so nip over if you'd like to join me. The rules are pretty flexible but I'm hoping to be really disciplined. I've been really enjoying beading my ATC swaps lately and also doing a little beading with the kids at the YTFG stitching classes at the Embroiderers' Guild. I've collected quite a few different kinds of beads and I'm sure will collect even more !
This project should mesh quite well with the Intermediate Contemporary and Historical Embroidery course I'm going to be doing in 2011 and 2012 with the Embroiderers' Guild NSW. I might even decide to do my Major Work in beaded embroidery !

Crazypatch mini quilt

Block pieced and ready to embellish

Completed quilt

I've long admired people such as Sharon B, Allison Aller and Pam Kellogg who do fabulous embellished crazy patchwork. I've always considered myself a passable embroiderer and I used to be a quick learner. However, my latest attempt at a simple mini quilt in crazy patchwork for an online swap hasn't exactly been a fabulous success. Our brief was to use 4 or 5 green fabrics and at least 2 different embroidery stitches to make a little 8 inch x 10 inch quilt to be sent by the end of November. I DID mail it yesterday, but I hope my swap partner is kind when she sees it !! I'd be grateful for any constructive criticism or suggestions to improve it. I could have kept going with a lot more embellishment but really I didn't have a lot of green things to hand and didn't have the time or energy to go shopping. I'm even doing online grocery shopping lately. It costs the same as home delivery (I'm a non-driver) and is delivered inside my front door and I'm spending less as there isn't the impulse buying that usually goes with pushing a trolley around the physical supermarket aisles !

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A family wedding 6th November 2010

The family wedding was a very simple but elegant event. The Bride (my eldest daughter) organised nearly everything herself from handmade invitations and placecards to bomboniere tags. Table decorations and flowers, hairdresser and makeup artist were booked online. It's certainly less expensive although I'm not so sure it was less stressful for her (or me either!) The small bridal group travelled in a black stretch limousine booked by her Dad about 6 weeks out from the date rather than use borrowed transport as she lives quite a distance from the wedding venue at a modern Italian restaurant on the Parramatta River in Sydney.
Her oldest and dearest friend was Matron of Honour and there was no best man although the groom's cousin was his witness. My daughter-in-law made the beautiful wedding cake.

My other daughters read a wedding poem during the ceremony, my son was Master of Ceremonies / D.J. and the 2 little grandchildren were supposed to walk down the aisle at the ceremony. They rehearsed beautifully at home, but as the big moment approached it was obvious it just wasn't going to happen, so the Matron of Honour carried the little princess in and his dad carried my grandson in to meet his mummy in the second row.

The Bride wore a Carla Zampatti evening gown with small train in ivory taffeta, borrowed my grandmother's Art Deco Swarovski crystal jewellery and I made a mushroom pink silk rose for her waist and hair decoration.

I also made a second cocktail length dress for the first dance which had to be fetched by a relative after being left at home in the last minute rush !!

We spent the day dodging showers, but in the end the light was great.
Here's the whole family with their partners posing for the professional photographer outside the restaurant, looking forward to seeing her shots in due course.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A different kind of anniversary

Yesterday was the 2 year anniversary of our house fire. The repairs have been finished for quite a while now. However lately I've found myself getting nervous at night again, and have begun sleeping with a night lite. Isn't that silly, but I guess it's a post traumatic stress reaction. As the weather gets warmer I sometimes need to sleep with an open window or the ceiling fan on over the bed. I'm such a light sleeper that any different noise, even an insect moving outside the window, can wake me with a fright. I dislike sleeping medications, so any suggestions about how to get to sleep and stay that way would be welcome !

The family wedding went very well, photos will follow soon, and the honeymoon couple plus one (grandaughter Miss Amelie) are in Fiji this week. I really miss having the baby around 2 days per week and can't wait for them to get back. I'm also going to put up my Christmas decorations before they return, I'm sure Amelie will really appreciate the 50 plus santa figures up on the entertainment unit !!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

And the winner is..

My apologies for not announcing the winner of my blogiversary / 200th post giveaway sooner. My oldest daughter is getting married this Saturday 6th November, and of course as I was a professional dressmaker she asked me to make her a second wedding dress for the wedding reception with about 6 weeeks notice. This would not normally be a problem for me, I've made lots in much shorter time frames, but I'm still recovering slowly from a shingles attack in late July and also looking after her daughter Miss Amelie (photo above)2 days per week. It didn't help either when some ongoing clients asked for urgent work in between. Finally we decided on a style together as she wanted something short and easily managed on the day rather than her long wedding gown, and we bought fabric and pattern. I made 2 cotton toiles of the bodice, made adjustments then finally cleared the decks and made the dress in 10 days. She took it home today, along with the bought wedding gown which of course I had to hem up since it was made for a giant !! After Saturday I'll be sure to add a couple of photos here.

So, after putting all commenters into a hat and adding followers.... the winner of mystery giveaway is....

KATE of Kalico Kate

Congratulations, I'll be in touch about getting your snail mail for a mailing soon.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Vintage needlework

I thought I'd share a piece of vintage embroidery I found recently when I was looking for something completely different in my storage cupboard in the bedroom. I think it's a side table mat and was stitched by my paternal grandmother who was a good needlewoman. It features a stem stitch filling skirt, buttonhole flowers on the skirt,satin stitch and bullion stitch flowers as well. The linen is very fine and features a finely crocheted edging in pearl thread. The white mark on the right side is unfortunately a hole, it looks like there may have been an organic stain on it which has been eaten by an insect over the years. I'd put it at 1950's or early 60's vintage as that was when I remember her doing this kind of work. I can't see whether it was pre-stamped or whether it was an iron-on transer which was typical of the time. I love it !

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Blogiversary Giveaway - deadline extended

I've extended the deadline for my Blogiversary Giveaway till Monday 11th October because I've been terribly busy and haven't had time to put together the goodies parcel yet ! So all comments till then earn one entry in the draw which I'll get a family member to conduct for me. Overseas mailing is not a problem but you'll need to log in so I can request a mailing address if you win.

The photo is of my grandmother's antique cameo brooch (unsure of age) which I was wearing recently with an 1850's repro crinoline at an historic house Open Day. I may post photos of the actual outfit later, I look like Whistlers' Mother in the photo (which isn't a BAD thing, but I look a lot older without my modern purple glasses!)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

World's smallest stop motion animation on Sharon B's blog

My online friend Sharon Boggon has the knack of finding the most incredible articles online, and we're very lucky that she shares them with us. The post this morning features the world's smallest stop motion animation, made with some incredible technology that is helping diagnose illnesses in remote areas of the world. Intrigued now?
Have a look here and enjoy.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Spring cleaning

What prompts us to look inwards and evaluate our lives at certain points in time? I'm not sure if it's because Spring ( a time of renewal of Life) has arrived here in Australia, or that it's only 12 weeks to Christmas and another birthday for me. Or is it because my youngest child has turned 25 and I'm feeling suddenly much older! I'm preparing my Curriculum Vitae for the Guild to apply for an embroidery course I'm thinking of taking and that has made me look at what I've achieved so far (or not) as well. This is my 200th post on this blog.

Time has certainly flown past lately, and it's even more obvious when I look at current photos of the grandkids. Riley has just turned 2, and is a dear little chap. He helped celebrate Auntie Bron's 25th birthday last weekend and I was able to snap this photo.

Doesn't he look all grown up?

Amelie at 21 months old is blossoming too. She comes to granny daycare with me for 2 days per week and is going to be in her mum's bridal party (we hope) with Riley in early November.

Amelie and Mum in the ballpit at Riley's birthday party in August

I've been madly Spring cleaning, well sorting out some accumulated junk rather than actual cleaning. I finally got my new rebuilt laundry finished with a large expensive custom made storage cupboard but haven't filled it yet, I need to sort out some other rooms first. I sold my space-wasting industrial sewing machine back to the supplier for spare parts. I wasn't really using it due to my neck and hand problems anyway. While all the contents of the sewing room were moved so that the removal chaps could get at the machine, I bought a set of shelves which was assembled and duly installed in there and filled up ! I found things I'd forgotten I had bought, saved and made. Some more drawers will be the next purchase, unless I can make the time to sort out a partly filled chest of drawers which may fit in the sewing room...

I definitely think it's Spring motivating me to look at things with fresh eyes. I've decided to apply to take an intermediate embroidery course over 2 years. I took a version of the course 7 years ago but feel I didn't give it the attention I could have at the time, between work and family committments I wasted a lot of time. Older and wiser,I think I'm ready to try again with renewed enthusiasm.

On Friday 1st October I'll be drawing a name from the hat for my Blogiversary giveaway, and each comment posted up until then will earn one ticket in the draw. I'll have to make a bumper prize now, considering 2 "special events" have co-incided.

Friday, September 17, 2010

A little giveaway to say Happy Blogiversary to myself !

Project worked by 2 kids in my stitching class in May

I can't believe it was 4 years ago last Sunday that I began blogging about my life and interests. So many things have happened around me over the years and my world has changed mostly for the better in that time. The highlights (and lowlights) included becoming a grandmother here and here, hubby being treated successfully for 2 minor heart attacks, and forced renovations after a house fire. My dear sister-in-law is now in remission from Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia (APL)which developed about 2 years ago. Professionally I've semi-retired from costume making except for special customers and have been concentrating on volunteering at historic houses in my area where my dressmaking skills have been put to good use. I also led a team who made reproduction convict women's clothing for a very successful exhibition called "Women Transported" which is touring the east coast of Australia. For my post on that see my costume blog here I continue to swap fabric ATC in my online quilting group and am currently convenor of the Embroiderers' Guild junior group YTFG and co-leader of a local Club. Right now I'm seriously considering whether to take another 2 year intermediate course at the Guild with the ultimate goal of becoming an accredited childrens' tutor. Lastly I can't forget that I'm providing my granddaughter Amelie daycare for 2 days per week while her mum goes to work, and I hope she's enjoying it as much as I am. I'm certainly getting lots of exercise on those 2 days with a little person in the house, LOL.

I had intended to announce a little giveaway in the week before my blogiversary, but got distracted and the date slipped quietly by. It's not too late to celebrate though, so if you'd like to say "hi" in a comment I'll conduct a little draw at the end of the month and send the lucky winner a little parcel. I'll include something handmade by me of course, and perhaps some stash enhancers? Please no anonymous comments, and I'm happy to mail overseas.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Another lovely blog to visit

Image from Dover Books samplers

There are lots and lots of textile blogs out there, just waiting to inspire us all. Some have fabulous work to showcase, some also share a little about themselves (or a lot) and a few do all of the above. One of my favourites is Pam Kellogg's "Kitty and Me Designs". Pam specialises in Crazy Patchwork but also does paper art. Such a lovely lady, great work to inspire you and insights into her life to inform and inspire as well. At the moment she has a lucky draw for a mini art quilt which is well worth winning. Pop in and have a look and scroll through some past posts while your there, you certainly won't be dissappointed in this blog.

Monday, August 16, 2010

A new blog is born

My shingles are almost healed thankfully. This quiet time has given me pause to consider my future and I have a few decisions to make about courses to take and my direction for the next couple of years. Nothing too drastic, but I've been coasting along for a while now and feel it's time to focus on some personal goals.

One decision made already is to start a new blog dedicated entirely to my passion for historic costume. I have a small collection of antique underwear, some babies wear and other interesting costume accessories. In the past I made theatrical costumes and in the last few years have found myself concentrating on historical reproduction sewing, so those interests will be explored further on the new blog which I've called Camisoles to Bustles. Hope you pop over an have a look? I'm progressively moving old posts from my costuming blog Lady Janes Wardrobe and that will now concentrate on other types of costume sewing.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

A cautionary tale

Anyone who knows me well will tell you that I'm a worrier, always have been and probably always will be. I sweat the details on everything, that's why I'm so good at theatrical costume making I suppose. It does have certain repercussions though. Sometimes I make myself ill, literally. I shouldn't have been too surprised then when my new doctor pronounced that the tingling blisters in my scalp about 10 days ago were Shingles. They're Herpes Zoster virus, just like cold sores, and you can only get them if you've previously had Chicken Pox but it seems that an overloaded immune system can trigger an attack. Chronic pain (such as I have in my neck area) and not coping well with stress (enough said!!)are probably to blame. Luckily I got treatment quickly and was able to take some medication to stop the symptoms being too severe.

I was NOT impressed though when lumpy blisters began forming on my forehead and over my right eye, very tender and throbbing for the first 3 days. I'm using Calendula cream on my lumps during the day and Calomine lotion to prevent scratching during the night. My scalp is still tender and I'm avoiding combing my hair. Hair washing is a gentle affair, gently washing and then wrapping my hair rather than rubbing it dry or using a dryer. The most alarming stage was on the Sunday evening when my eyes were swelling closed. An after-hours doctor was very reassuring, and suggested Nurofen for it's anti-inflamatory effects. I lost the bridge of my nose somewhere under there, I could easily have auditioned for a part in a Star Wars movie, as an alien in the tavern or street scenes?? Even my little granddaughter Amelie looked at me a bit strangely on the Monday but by Tuesday evening the swelling had subsided.

Amelie loves watching DVD's of In the Night Garden

Thankfully I'm slowly on the mend, but still sleeping 9 or 10 hours every night, most unusual for me. Husband has shared his cold with me, but with all the medication in my system I've avoided getting too sick. I've cancelled all outside committments for 2 weeks though to give myself time to recuperate, and I'm spending time stitching and "researching" on the PC.

So the moral of this tale is: Listen to your friends who tell you to make your own health and well-being a priority and eveything else will follow. Superwoman is a cartoon character, not a real woman, so stop trying to imitate her !

Dotee dolls for swaps

Here is Bluebelle, a blue themed Dotee doll made for an online swap. I'm pretty sure lots of textile people know about Dotee dolls, but just in case you've forgotten have a look here. I found some little metal charm hands and shoes at the recent Craft and Quilt Fair at Darling Harbour in Sydney, and thought they'd add a little something to my Dotees.

I've used tubular metallic braid and beads for her hair, a piece of hand dyed lace and a butterfly for her hair brooch, and I'm trying a new face with embroidered features and a little heart button "pout" on her lips. I hope my swap partner Phyl likes her and I can't wait to see what she comes up with.

I also made a little purple trimmed one, but I now have an idea for an even better one, so this little unnamed lady might just go to live with someone else one day.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Needle Lace Talk

I've just joined another Ning group, this time about another of my passions at the moment, needlelace. I was searching my files for a photo of an ATC I made for Susan Lenz's exhibition Cyber Fiber in South Carolina. I put my one and only completed sample of Aemelia Ars style needlelace on it and sent it to her in exchange for one of her own. Must have deleted that photo, or I've filed it somewhere strange. So I had to pop over to her blog scroll down to find my ATC and save it again. So here it is, a well travelled ATC not looking too shabby for my first attempt and a real tribute to the teaching skills of Margaret Stephens my fabulous tutor. I used olive coloured swarovski crystals, gold beads and gold tiny sequins to add some bling to the card too.

New Blog template

Decided I needed a little renovation so chose a new template and played with some colours - hope you like the result. Sometimes a change is as good as a holiday, especially on a nasty wet and cold day, LOL. However, I seem to have lost my "about me" description, drat. One day I'll learn to leave things alone !!

It's raining cats and dogs !!!

Australia surely is a land of contrasts, as Dorothea MacKellar said in her poem "My Country"
I love a suburnt country,
a land of sweeping plains,
of ragged mountain ranges,
of droughts, and flooding rains

Well, I think the flooding rains have definitely arrived on the New South Wales coast in the last fortnight. I think it's rained every day, and often ALL day. As a result I had to decide today whether to brave public transport in the cold and rain to go grocery shopping, or wait till someone is home to drive me to the shopping centre. I chose the latter, and raided the "emergency" supply of pasta meals for my lunch. I had a hot shower, put on tracky dacs (that's slang for loose track pants and sweater) and put on the gas heater in the family room. Here's Bob (the female studio cat) taking full advantage of the heater to warm her tummy, she lays like this for ages, LOL.

Here's a frontal view of Bob outside last year with her friend Blackie Puss. BP was a stray cat we sort of adopted, and he was a whole male who used to fight off all the neighbourhood cats to protect Bob. Sadly, we had to take him to the Vet for some treatment for an abcess and discovered he had Feline AIDS. This would have meant keeping him inside at night and a lifetime (albeit shorter) of meds. Bob has her own medical problems which make her very anti-social at times so unfortunately we had to make the painful decision to have BP euthanased. He really was a lovely old black and white puss and I miss him being around.

The wild weather on the east coast of Australia has even seen a mini tornado hit Lennox Head, a beach side town up towards the Queensland border. It's been declared a natural disaster zone and will take weeks to get cleaned up and back to normal. Thankfully no-one lost their life although some people were injured by flying debris and many had very lucky escapes.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

TAST 2010 week 11 and week 2

I've been quite keen to try a few more "catch up" sessions this past fortnight, so here are my week 11 attempts at Bullion buttonhole stitch. I should confess that the first 2 attempts were ripped out, I think there is a trick to putting just the right number of wraps on the needle for the size of the stitch and this took me a while to master. I like the sample with the beads which looks like a row of flowers. The middle example has some glass facetted beads on the bottom of each bullion which I put on before going to the next stitch in the row.

Next is week 2, Diamond Stitch.

I got a bit confused with Sharon's diagrams here, but once I realised that the work had to be turned 90 degrees and the stitch worked down the line, I grasped it. The second sample is worked one stitch at right angles to another and so on, then the beads sewn in the spaces made. A useful stitch to have if large areas needed to be filled but still left a little open, if you know what I mean, LOL.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

TAST 2010 week 12 and week 1

I've been very lazy so far this year, and have let the TAST 2010 parade almost pass me by !! I've decided to tag along when I can, and am saving and printing all the stitches each Tuesday. Week 12's offering from Sharon B was Sorbello stitch so my first attempt at this stitch is pictured below.

I found this one relatively trouble free, and like the texture that knot in the centre gives to cross stitch, which is not one of my favourite stitches I will admit.

On week 1, so long ago now, I cut a piece of evenweave linen and zigzagged the edges ready for my sampler of stitches. I stitched the first stitch, Knotted Loop Stitch and then patted myself on the back !!

I liked the rhythm this stitch has, and tried a tricky thing with some weaving through it on the end of the row.
Little did I know how hard it would be to get back to that sampler, but over the next few weeks I hope to "fill in the gaps" both on the sampler and in my stitch repertoire. And along the way I hope to re-discover my love of stitching, something I hope to be able to do while babysitting 2 days a week with my dear little granddaughter Amelie.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Catching up

I'm the busty one in the top row, right with the short blonde hair

This photo was posted recently by a long lost school friend Rhona. We found each other through a social networking site, I didn't even know this photo was still around. What a hoot, we were dreadful at volleyball, we never trained, and we never won as far as I remember. We were all too interested in boys by 4th form (now year 10). I recall my boyfriend in the beginning of this year was much older than me, 8 years in fact. By the middle of year 10 I'd "dropped" him and taken up with a friend of Rhona's boyfriend. Frank was the complete opposite of Clive and in year 12. He didn't last too long either. 10 months later I was going out with my husband-to-be and we're still together after 36 years on May 11th.

The last few months have been a blur of babysitting Amelie, visiting with Riley and other family events and committments. Middle daughter moved back home with boyfriend for 6 months while they saved for a home together. They moved out at Easter. Not a lot of stitching or sewing is going on, apart from the regular making of ATC for swapping in my online group. I went to Wagga Wagga in March for an Embroiderers' Guild Convenors' Meeting and had a great time. Then on Easter Sunday DH and I flew to Norfolk Island in the South Pacific for a week's much needed R and R. I'd won a travel voucher in a charity lottery, you know the kind where they phone you to buy a ticket or tickets? First time I've ever won something, so we had to choose a Pacific rim destination. Norfolk seemed like an idyllic location, and my SIL has visited and recommended it to us. As soon as I can fire up the computer which has the photos saved on it I'll post some to show you what I mean.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I'm still here !!

Miss Amelie, aged 14 months

Just a quick post to say I'm still here. People must wonder what happened to me, this blog is a little out of date !! It's been a very busy year so far trying to keep up with all my committments, even though I vowed to make "focus" my watchword this year. Not a lot of embroidery going on, or costume making for that matter. The year is flying by and I promise to update at the beginning of May (gosh, that's only at the end of next week!!!!) after the Embroiderers' Guild's major exhibition is over and I catch my breath. Please call back ?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Counted Thread Band Round Robin progress at last!

It's been more than 2 years since an international group of 10 people signed up for a round robin project on a now closed Yahoo group. Eventually we were down to 7 people who stitched a counted thread technique on a band, no more than 2 inches wide, then sent it on to the next person on the list. The schedule of 6 months was soon abandoned with some of the group members suffering life's ups and downs including death of loved ones and marriage break ups, but the "stitching sisters" (as the new group was called) were always there to talk to and share the joy or heartbreak.

This week in Sydney has been hot and humid, way too hot to go outside or do too much strenuous activity. It seemed like the perfect time to sit quietly, put on the air con, and finish designing and stitching the 3 bands I've managed to stockpile here. They were certainly not forgotten, but prioritising my commitments had shifted them to the very bottom of the UFO piles. So Norma and Sarah can look forward to seeing their bands in the USA soon, and Margaret's is in the designing stage and will be started by the end of this week too.

Sarah's band with my work in green at the bottom
Sarah started her band at a very tumultuous time in her life. The journal cover she sent with her partly finished work was an oriental postcard and she asked us to stitch something that made us feel tranquil. I chose to stitch a traditional blackwork band taken from an old English book. It reminded me of clouds and seemed really peaceful, a little like the clouds on Wedgewood blue and white Willow pattern china? I used a lime green DMC pearl 8 from my stash so I hope she likes it.

Norma's band with my work in blue at the bottom
Norma sent a pumpkin coloured linen for us to stitch on, and I chose to echo the shape of the first row worked by Norma herself at the top. The design again was from an old English blackwork pattern and represents Pomegranates I believe. I used blue DMC Pearl 8 cotton thread for this blackwork band. I was nearly finished when I discovered I had made a counting mistake in the middle, so had to "reverse embroider" or "frog" 2 whole pomegranates. I hope Norma likes my work too.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Amelie's first birthday

This blog also chronicles my family, so from time to time I like to brag a little about them.

Today is Amelie's first birthday, I just can't believe it's been that long since we sat outside the maternity unit waiting to hear the results of an emergency Caeserian on my oldest daughter. Amelie Jane arrived weighing 2.51 kg and measuring 45 cm, a tiny bundle of joy. She's grown up into a delightful little girl, who makes everyone smile when they see her beautiful happy face. She giggles at her cousin Riley and her good friend Gabriella, aged 4, makes her laugh out loud by jumping up and down. She snuggles into my shoulder when I'm putting her to sleep for a nap on the 2 days a week I babysit while her Mum goes to work. I'm really enjoying her company, it brings back very fond memories of her own mummy's babyhood. I introduced Amelie to the Wiggles on DVD, and she starts to "dance" whenever I switch on the DVD player, long before the DVD is even loaded. Her favourite songs are Dr Knickerbocker (she can make the thumbs up sign to count number 1) and Shimmie Shake. On her birthday she was seen "dancing" to some house music playing on the stereo at home, so she likes most musical styles really.

Her birthday party was held on Sunday 10th, about 30 family and friends went to her home for afternoon tea. Aunty Bel managed to make 40 cupcakes and a cake in between looking after my grandson Riley, a fabulous effort !

It was extremely hot and humid, over 34 degrees C outside and the ducted aircon struggled to cope with the crowd. Aunty Bel and my son Peter brought Riley's new wading pool to put up for the littlies. My hubby (Pop) brought a folding gazebo and we shaded the pool with it. You would have laughed at all the adults standing around the pool under the gazebo watching 4 kids splashing about!

Riley and Amelie in the wading pool

Only problem was, after all that exercise and no afternoon nap you can guess what happened next. The birthday girl fell asleep on my shoulder.

Mummy tried to wake her up but we decided to let her have a 30 minute nap. She still wouldn't wake up so we pressed on with the cake cutting and speeches while she slept on Mummy's lap. She woke up smiling when everyone sang Happy Birthday though, and eventually unwrapped her gifts. A great day even though it was a long one!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Recent textile ATC activity

I've just started my third year of making and swapping textile ATC, those wonderful little 2 1/2 inch x 3 1/2 inch artworks, with the Scquilters online group. I've filled 3 A4 albums with 9 pocket pages of swapped cards, over 300 of them now. We suggest themes and our "list mum" randomly selects one and puts it into a database online. We then sign up in groups of 6 people, making 6 and sending one to the other 5 people on the list. Sometimes its hard not to sign up for every single swap, other times I find I don't like themes or am just too busy to make cards. This year we're running a Birthday Swap so I'm looking forward to receiving 30 ATC with cards this month ! Our group is very talented and the variety of cards is amazing. We recently challenged ourselves to a Loosen Up swap, where mystery "prompts" were posted every few days and we made cards not knowing how they would turn out. I am dismal at handing over control in case you hadn't noticed, LOL. As it turned out, my daughter was ill at the time, so I saved the prompts. I've documented the process, hoping it would inspire me again. The following photos show the steps I took in response to the online prompts.

Make an 8 1/2 x 8 1/2 inch background square which I marked with card sizes

Add triangles or add red, I did both.

add a strong diagonal or pictures cut from a printed fabric, so I added a strong diagonal in a printed fabric.

Add something very light or use crayon or paint, I added some Angelina fibres and fused them

This resulted in the previous step being nearly covered over, not to worry, carry on. Next came "add cross stitch or ribbon, lace or braid" I added some cross stitches. Finally, "add curvy lines or use a repeating pattern" I made a repeating pattern using my programmable embroidery stitches on the sewing machine. Finally "cut up, back and edge as usual"

Voila! The finished card, as requested. I didn't really enjoy that as much as I should have, or perhaps the circumstances were just a bit overwhelming at the time. Might try another in the future, lots of other members are keen to try again too.

Friday, January 08, 2010

A busy few months

The last few months have been quite busy. In late October my husband was hospitalised with another heart attack which required 2 stents this time. He was still off work when I started looking after Miss Amelie, and we were just settling into her routine of 2 days a week when her mum was hospitalised, see previous post. Then came the holiday period with her mum and dad at home, my hubby had his holidays and my teacher daughter was around too. Consequently we haven't got fully back into our routine, and I'm hoping she'll slip back into it fairly quickly. I'm really enjoying our time together, she's growing up so quickly. Crawling properly now and pulling herself up to stand using the furniture. Her birthday is the 11th January, can't believe how quickly that 12 months has flown by.

The birthday-girl-to-be

Amelie's cousin Riley, my little grandson, is 16 months old now and running everywhere. The 2 cousins love to get together, she laughs all the time when he's around. I don't see Riley nearly often enough, since Mum and Dad both work full time and he goes to daycare we only get to visit on the weekends, or they come to us sometimes.
I'm really looking forward to the big 1st birthday afternoon tea bash for Amelie on Sunday, 4 generations of our family will be there.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas Pt 2

Of course, it's already after Christmas. However I need to catch up with my blogging, so please excuse the title for now.

Christmas around here can be quite frenetic, but this year I had a good excuse to slow down a bit. We had a bit of sad news just before Christmas, with my oldest daughter hospitalised with a miscarriage. Everything was put on hold to support the young family and help with Miss Amelie. Then some exciting news with her partner proposing marriage and giving her a huge diamond ring to seal the deal straight after Christmas. We'd been keeping the secret since mid November, we thought he'd never get around to it!!

Santa was good to everyone in our family, especially the littlies who were spoilt rotten of course by all the grandparents. Lucky husband and I received tickets to Darren Coggan's show Peacetrain at the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall from our kids, pre-theatre dinner included. We chose to go to Aria, our first time there. We certainly weren't dissapointed, the meal and scenery were both wonderful, we felt like A-listers sitting in the restaurant at Circular Quay watching all the ferries whiz in and out, watching the world walk past under our feet. What to say about Peacetrain? Darren sounds just like a young Cat Stevens, and wove 24 of Cat's songs through a narrative about his life. The capacity audience really got involved in the show, most of whom were around our age and like hubby and I probably went to Cat's Sydney concert in the early 1970's !! Everyone in the line for the Ladies at interval was raving about the show, a very good sign, LOL. He certainly deserved the standing ovation, would recommend Peacetrain to everyone.

My santa figurine collection went up the week before Christmas and will come down in early January. I added a few and also received some for Christmas gifts from family, so can now count 64 old fashioned Santas in the display.

Santas on the entertainment unit

Small santas on the sideboard!

I'll certainly miss their company when I pack the Santas away, the room looks so cheerful when they are up. Will have to put back the family photos, and perhaps add a few new decoator touches. I'm considering starting an angels collection for this coming Christmas, as they are available all year round and should be easier to find!
PS santa photos of the grandkids are hiding on the sideboard too!