Saturday, August 30, 2008


TGIS- is all I can say- it's been one heck of a week at work- the staff are falling like flies, one after the other, with this latest flu that is going around. I have woken to an annoying cough & am hoping that things will not progress any further. Roll on summer so we can be rid of all these bugs!

My DH has done nothing much all week-nothing much in the way of things around the house- if you ask him- he hasn't had time to do anything all week! We had no veggies for 3 days as he kept forgetting to go to the grocery store- it wasn't on his list of priorities-but photographing a miniature orchid was.

He must have taken hundreds of shots with a million different settings to get the perfect shot of the orchid which has been silly enough to flower within sight of him!

I nicked into the garden this morning- took 6 shots & came out with this one- not bad at all-for point & shoot! This orchid is about 1cm across, so it's quite small. I'm amazed it hasn't closed itself up again after all the media attention it's been getting all week.

My friend, Carol, emailed me this morning to say she was being featured on a blog on Ann the Gran- but it was my pics of projects that she has used- I used her designs.

Pillowslips make a great gift I've found- everyone seems to like them & can use them- I have a thing about giving gifts that are useful. These are a pair I made for my friend Marge-I combined embroideries in the hoop then stitched them out in one go. Added the frill in a different fabric, ric rac trim & away we went. She loved them!

The fish one was for my Grandson when he was out vi sting from the UK. He was fascinated with my new machine (the pfaff CV arrived the week before they flew in). He went through my stash- picked the fabrics & I found these designs on emblibrary & with his 'help' we stitched them onto the contrast band.
Here's the stitching detail: My beautiful silk yarns arrived from red robin knits through the week- cant wait to get started on knitting them up- a pair of felted clogs to finish first-I ran out of wool 6 rows form the end- don't you just hate that. I decided I'd buy more wool & knit my GS a pair as well- so that justified the purchasing of another pattern.

My search for the perfect shawl pattern has had me printing out numerous ones from the net- looking through my books- I have the Victorian Lace today one but I don't like working off graphs- seems I'll have to learn.

Today I plan to sew- a pair of pillowcases- have had an idea-so must away to try it out!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Who wants a whinging 3 year old?

I really don't like Vista. In fact I hate Vista. It's like having a 3 year old child around-asking continually can I do something- I am sure a man developed this program!

Funnily enough when you want to shut down the computer, it doesn't ask you are you sure you want to do this-it just does it.

Thing is, I didn't want vista in the first place. I'm being forced to use it, so that made me not want to like it as I didn't ask for the change.

You see I made the stupid mistake a few months back of listening to my MP3 player on my laptop- I do this occasionally- VERY OCCASIONALLY. Maybe 3-4 times a year, if I'm being generous in my calculations. (Lets face it- if you have been the mother of 5 children you value peace & quiet!)

So, DH comes up to my sewing room & sees that I have the MP3 player plugged in & decides that I need a new laptop. Now don't get me wrong, I love the fact that he thinks of me & I have all the latest in technology, I just didn't need a new laptop-the one I was using is less than 18 months old! and more than anything I didn't want vista as I knew there were lots of problems using it with my embroidery software & that's the main reason I have a laptop in the sewing room.

DH leaves to go overseas before I did on this last trip & phones me (on skype of course- he loves all this technology-oh ,to have a clear, non interrupted call on a land line when he travels!)-from Malaysia- wait & see the new laptop I bought you, its got surround sound & blue ray & blue tooth & a million other things that had letters & I didn't understand any of,why do I need a new laptop? I stupidly ask. Well, you listen to music on yours, you NEED a better sound.....I do? No,I don't....seems I was wrong... I did, I have a new one (he promised the old one to our daughter- I did say she could have the new one, but that apparently is not what he had in mind).

Vista. It will have vista, my embroidery programs won't work-apparently he found out that they have fixed the problems-perhaps- it took 3 days to get the program to work & it's going to take me the rest of my life to figure out how to find my files, delete things & copy & paste- nothing is easy & then we go back to the whinging 3 year old asking me 10 times do I really want to do this.

Of course I bloody well do- I wouldn't have pressed the button in the first place if I didn't.

God help me. I will never play music again on my laptop - mind you, I haven't figured out how to get the MP3 on this one- so that may stand good for a while yet.

My mantra now is to keep my mouth shut- just in case I end up with something else "I need", when I know I don't!

The pics attached to this post were taken while travelling in the South of France.

Flowers in gardens we visited, a chateau on the edge of a cliff. (I wondered at how many villagers died building it by falling to their deaths over the edge.) La Rochelle, a favourite spot & so beautiful.

Eating out at street cafes, jazz musicians playing all round-a feeling of festiveness....wonderful!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Birthdays and Life

I find it much harder to make time to blog than I ever thought possible. My evenings disappear before I know it. I tell myself,through the day, tonight I'll add a bit more to my blog.....well, as you can see, it's been at least a week since my last confession.....

I've had a birthday since I was here last-a half birthday-I don't particularly like getting older- although the alternative is not so great-it's the changes I dislike the most.

My body has been stolen from me- I've woken up heavier, older looking,more grey hairs & wrinkles. My boobs, once sunny in their disposition, are now definitely looking down at the world!
Getting older sucks.

Dimpled skin tone, my knees & shoulders don't work like they used to either & don't get me started on my lower back (30 years of nursing has really stuffed that!) My mind still thinks like I'm 30- it's just the rest of me that's aging!

At least I'm not becoming my mother- & God help me if I'm becoming my father! (shoot me please). It's a shock to hear yourself say something & you pull yourself up short realizing that you are repeating their words......

I still want to play like a 30 year old & get into as much trouble as I did as a 30 year old- I just no longer look the part.....bummer.

On a brighter side to my birthday celebrations my eldest son, who has been living in the UK for the past 9 years & has moved back to Oz, surprised me, by turning up to dinner on Friday night- of course the family were all in on the surprise & lovely one it was too. Only his wife & son were missing- still in the UK for another 3 weeks- then the family will be all on the one continent again.

As another surprise the family had all chipped in & bought me a red balloon gift- a day photography lesson with a pro- I hope I know enough about the camera to take the class. Reading about it online, it seems turning the camera on & off & pointing in the general direction is not enough....maybe I'll take my DH's fancy new camera- the one with all the bells & whistles- now that would be fun- but I really do only know how to turn that one off & on! Perhaps the beginner class would have been more my speed-will be fun I'm sure.

Friday I went along to the Stitches & Craft Fair here in Sydney. The past few years have been a disappointment to me & the gals I go with. So much so we are wondering whether to give up going altogether.

I've been attending S&C since the first one. I've seen it so packed out you could hardly move, the exhibits adding more each year- it used to be fantastic-these days it's just OK.

Gone are the days where we would come home with 5 new crafts, a sewing machine & bags of goodies- the past 3 years I've been lucky to spend $200 all day- including entry, lunch & drinks-that's far short of what we used to spend!

I've put myself on a fibre diet- low as in not buying much of any type of fibre- high as in the consumption of what I'm using- all stashes are getting out of hand.

My knitting is progressing- the felt clogs I'm knitting are all but finished- I HAD to buy another ball of yarn there-I ran out of contrast 8 rows to go-I figure I'll make my grandson a kids pair as I'll have enough left over (that justifies me buying another pattern to do that- works for me!)

The 6 balls of cotton yarn I found- this must be 15 years old- stashed in the bottom of my yarn crate-is being made into dishcloths- have now completed 6 & these will be put with the tea towels I embroidered from my stash. 3 balls to go. I'm determined to use all this fibre up.

The fabric stash is a different matter- I must have close to 700-800 metres. That's a staggering amount of fabric, but, by all accounts, not near as much as a lot of my sewing pals-one can only guess at how much they have when they build storage in the back yard to house the overflow!

Here are some pics of our travels through France- a farmer's market where we purchased fresh produce for lunch & then ate it in the parking area of a really old church, tucked away in a remote village- not a soul in site. The food was fantastic- although the cheese was probably the most expensive I had ever eaten at about $60 a kg!
The great thing about travelling with your kids when they get older, is that they are so much fun to be with. None of that- are we there yet-can you buy me this-I'm hungry-he pushed me- he hit me- move over, you're on my side!
Ah, the joys of travelling with the 5 of them when they were young. Personally, I'm not sure how I never throttled them or threw them out the car window when we went through that horrid stage! For those of you reading this that are yet to go through this stage- don't worry it only lasts about 20 years!
If mother nature didn't give them to us all cute & little as she does, there would never have been a second generation after Cane & Abel! or who ever it was that Adam & Eve gave birth to!
More next time-off to watch NCIS!!!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Socks & Security

One thing I did find out on this trip was-short 6" DPNs made from bamboo go through the security checks in airports without any problems- so did my knitpicks wooden interchangeables (left in pieces so no-one would think I could garrot someone with the cable).

One of my under wire bras didn't fair so well & a pair of jeans with all those little studs (it was a short flight, I wasn't thinking)- this meant I had to have the full pat down & get everything checked-everyone was wondering what had happened to me..well, that will teach me. I'm sure if airport security could get us to go naked, they would! (not a pretty site, in my case).

Flying these days is not as much fun as it used to be, but it's not going to stop me.

After knitting 6 dishcloths & 3 shawls/scarves I decided to tackle socks-seemed a lot of my Internet pals were discussing the merit of knitting them.

I've been knitting since before I started school- I was taught using fiddle sticks & scraps of yarn at my mother's knee, as were all my sisters. Over the years I've knitted just about everything, except socks. It wasn't that I thought they were difficult, it was that no one ever wanted a knitted pair of socks, so why knit them?

Truth be told, I'm not sure that anyone wants them all these years later, but they are going to get them! and they better wear them!

Not long before I left to come on this trip I did attempt to make socks- I made one. I was not that pleased with the result, the sock & the rest of the yarn were put away. I used self patterning yarn, the pattern on the back of the ball band & I thought the sock looked ugly when finished (& I had bought 2 balls of this stuff YUK!).

My pal in Canada took me to a lovely little quilt & wool shop-I came out with bamboo DPN's & a ball of Noro sock yarn-bright & cheerful looking stuff. I found a free pattern online & I couldn't knit fast enough!

Sock one was started on the flight from Canada to London & the second sock knitted on the London to Paris eurostar train ride! Lucky I had picked up another ball of sock yarn in our few days in London! By this stage I was altering the pattern to give me different looks & what an easier way to knit socks this pattern was. They even looked like some one might wear them!

We hurtled across the french countryside on our way to Bordeaux, me knitting as fast as I could, glancing at the scenery whizzing past, here we were going to catch up with our daughter & her DH who had been driving around Germany & Spain after going to a wedding in Germany a couple of weeks earlier.

I love the French countryside,the quaint villages, the outdoor cafes & the weather, it was hot-oh bliss after Newfoundland & London, it was lovely to see sunshine & feel the warmth again! And not to have to wear 5 layers of clothing!

Our DTR had organized a drive around the south of France- taking in sites she wanted to see ( she's a geologist) & things she thought would interest us all-nothing booked, except for the first night, a road map & lots of printouts from Google. We had a ball. Every time we thought we were lost, the road we wanted would turn up or directions on how to get there-talk about a wing & a prayer. It is wonderful to travel with your grown-up kids.

Unfortunately for me I can't knit or read in a car-so the needles had to be put away through the day, only to do short bursts of a night time before going to sleep. I envy those that can sit in a car & read, embroider, sew, knit- me I just usually fall asleep!

The pic was taken from the car window of the Cathedral in Bordeaux & my first 'pair' of socks- the Noro yarn ones. When I showed these to my DTR she just loved then, I couldn't believe it- she even ASKED could she HAVE them-my socks had a home! Just what every crafty person likes to hear!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Bras & Things

One of the many things I have sewn is bras. No, they are not difficult- in fact they are really easy, take only small amounts of fabric & when your friends find out you MAKE them- they'll be after you to make theirs as well. In fact, they make the best gifts with matching knickers & cami. What gal doesn't like pretty undies?

Some years back at a gathering of the Ya Ya's I endeavoured to teach them how to make bras (I have a feeling that the amount of Baileys that had been consumed by us all had something to do with the frivolity of the lesson!)

My fellow Ya Ya, Mary, has my lessons up on her site & it can be found here under Pauline's bra class my DIL who has minimal sewing experience managed to make herself a bra-so I'm sure you could manage as well, if you know how to use a sewing machine.
The ability to sew underwear has lead me into some interesting paid jobs over the years- I make a point of not asking too many questions & keeping a poker face at all times! It pays well.

Progressing with our travels.

After leaving my fellow Ya Ya's I flew off to join my DH & 2 other couples in St. John's, Newfoundland. I must say that Newfoundland had never been on my list of places to see before I can no longer travel....but, I'm so glad I've seen it.

We had suggested to the fellas to travel here so the gals could attend the Canadian Quilt Symposium which was being held in St. Johns & to 'have a look around' (meaning find as many quilt shops as we could).

They told me it was summer. They lied. It was freezing- in the middle of the day it was colder than an overnight low temperature here in Sydney on a record breaking night!

Doning all the clothes I had packed to venture out most days had me looking like the Michelan tyre man, but it was the only practical way to keep warm. A local did tell me that it doesn't really warm up until September! ( I firmly believe them)

Talking to the locals was an interesting exercise- the older folk, the real Newfies- the language seemed to be a mixture of Irish & Scottish, with the word usuage from 100 years ago- it made conversations interesting to say the least.

My puffin pic was a fluke- I have to admit it- but I was the only one to get in focus shots of them on the day. Personally, I thought at any moment a huge gust of wind was going to carry me off the small bit of land I was standing on (having traversed a land bridge to get onto it) & send me plumeting to my death on the rocks below or carry me to Greenland like Mary Poppins! I did not go back the following day as the 2 disappointed fellas (whose pics were not in focus) had to return to try again, in even windier conditions. Sometimes photographers are crazy!

The land is bleak, windy & cold & often covered with barely growing vegetation-but it's spectacular & wild & well worth going to see.

Now, I'd like to see Labrador- perhaps on another trip.

After spending 2 weeks in Canada we left our friends & set off for the UK to continue our RTW trip.

By this stage I had completed 6 dishcloths,3 scarves & started on socks-whose idea was it to knit socks, anyway? I was not told how addictive they are.

More next time.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I've done it!

The Beginning
After much encouragement (read that as pressure) from my many friends to whom I send pictures of my latest travels around the world, my latest creations I have made, that, I 'just have to share' with them and all accompnaied by my mad mumblings, I've created the blog they all said I should do.....we'll see!
I travel- well, WE travel that is my DH & I- (DH for those that don't know is dear husband-or the D can be for anything you like it to stand for-guess it depends on the mood of the moment- I'm sure you all understand!)
I guess we manage a little more than most, but not as often as others may & while we are away I send home emails with pics attached & stories (the modern day version of a postcard)-so this is for you, all my friends & for those that although you don't know me, would like to join in as well.
DH & I have an on-going competition between the 2 of us- it's not only while we are travelling- it's constant-the rivalry is never far from the surface- technically he is winning-artistically, I am.
We both photograph anything & everything & DH can often be seen behind me (so much so that I have tripped over him)- trying to get the same pic I'm taking. I've taken to pretending- just to put him off the scent.
He uses the latest all singing, all dancing digital SLR (& I must admit it is VERY nice to use- when I can sneak it off him & play with it-he is very reluctant to hand it over- sharing is not one of his better qualities!)
Me, I use a point & shoot that you can do a little more adjusting with-but I maintain they used to take great shots with a box Brownie-lets face it- I DID get the best puffin shot on the day (more on that later). But then his icebergs shots were better.
Recently we have returned home from an around the world trip -he started off in Asia & I headed to the USA to meet up with friends-a great group of gals that have been meeting every year for the past 6 years.
This year we stayed in Intercourse- I kid you not- that was the name of the town- right in the middle of Amish country-in Pennsylvania-the next town along was Paradise- I must admit they do seem to go together.
We are a group of sewists- we all sew different things & have different interests-but sewing is our common thread & we all met on the Internet through a forum.
Some years back one of the gals in Canada was silly enough to invite DH & I to come visit (little did she know it only takes an invitation & we are there-these days I warn my friends not to invite us unless they really mean it!) and so Ya ya was born- the annual get together of the Friendly sewing Group-we've met all over the place, every year, for the past 6 years.
Intercourse was wonderful (well it is, isn't it?LOL)-the pic of the young lad learning to plough (bare feet & all)-he struggled to keep the horses going where he wanted them & we watched amazed as he struggled in the small patch he was ploughing.The horses were winning.
A week of laughing, sharing & friendship- catching up with those we'd met before & welcoming new faces to the group & most of all a week of shopping in all those wonderful quilt shops that abound in that part of the country. Did you know you can fit 14.5kgs of fabric into a medium sized backpack?
So here was the beginning of my holiday-10.5 weeks & over the next few weeks I'll add more to the holiday & share with you some of the projects I completed while travelling & have been doing since I arrived home.
Many thanks to the Mad One who christened me the Oz-tralien some years back- my feet aren't webbed, nor are they green, but it gave me the title for the blog!