Tuesday 31 August 2010

Buried Treasure

This seems to be an appropriate title for this week’s Tuesday Treasures.

When I was a kid, Dad was digging in our back garden and dug up this sweet little brooch.

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We took it in to the jewellers, who suggested it probably would have been bought by a serviceman during the Korean War.  I was thrilled when Dad said I could have it.  I’ve never worn it as the catch isn’t very secure – probably why it was lost in the first place.

When Mick and I had our first house in town, there was an ugly 70s brick barbecue in the back yard.  As part of our renovations in the late 80s Mick pulled it down to make way for a new outdoor living area.  Underneath the concrete he found this buried treasure.

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Despite being buried for many years this ladies watch case was in perfect condition. It is about the size of a 50c coin.  The reverse has a spot where it could be monogrammed, but it is blank.  Inside it says that the workings were guaranteed for 10 years, although there are no workings.  I had the ring added to the winder, and unfortunately the jeweller, in adding it, made the watch case unable to be opened any more.

I wonder how it came to be buried in our back yard.  Was it given to children to play with once it was no longer operational?  Who knows.  Anyway, it is a lovely treasure to have found.

Visit Clare to see what other treasures are on show this week.

Sunday 29 August 2010

I’ve Finished Something & Out on Olga

We were planning to go away for the weekend motorcycling, but as they say “The best laid plans of mice and men…….”, so another time.  However, if we were away, we were going to miss out on participating in a charity poker run around here, so we still got to have a ride after all.

They were hoping for nearly 100 bikes to join in the ride, but to the organisers’ disappointment there were only about 15 bikes that turned up.  Not to worry, we still went and had a terrific afternoon out. 

The day was lovely for motorcycling.  The sun finally came out after a rather feral week, although the breeze still had a bit of a nip to it.  Everything is looking so green and there is water laying everywhere.  We haven’t seen a season like this in about 10 years.

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We stopped at country pubs along the way, one of which was at Lyndhurst.  Despite of all our rides I have never been into the village of Lyndhurst before, even though it is less than an hour from home.  We usually just stay on the highway which bypasses it.  The pub was a lovely old place.

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After the ride most of us went back to the local pub for dinner which finished off a great day. By the way, Olga went really well, so hopefully most of the bugs are now sorted.

On the sewing front, I was starting to despair of finishing anything this month, but I have finally had a chance (and been in the mood) to make a few things.

Jenny of Elefanz had an August Challenge to make something out of an old piece of clothing.  She has been really creative with an orange shirt.  A couple of months ago her challenge was to make something from an old pair of jeans, but I didn’t get around to it.  I was really taken with one project that used a pocket with a flap. As I had recently purchased a pattern for a backpack, I thought that would be a perfect feature to have on the front of a denim backpack. 

I went shopping at the Sallys and was rapt when I found this pair of jeans.  They are a relatively lightweight denim, so not too difficult to sew, nice wide legs with a flap cargo pocket, so would already have the seam detail that I wanted.  Perfect.

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So, not to leave things too late, I sewed this afternoon and am quite pleased with the end product.  It has a faded roses fabric trim and lining.

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Unfortunately it is difficult to photograph, but I think you will get the idea.  It has a shaped top with a zip from front to back.

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I also wanted to have a go at Judith’s challenge for the month.  This time we were challenged to make a gift featuring hearts.  It could be one or many.  I thought a coat hanger would fit the bill.

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I made another one while I was at it.  The pattern is by Joy Coey and she shared it on the Gumtree Designers’ blog earlier in the year.  You can find it here.  I love this pattern, it is so quick and easy, but gives a lovely finished product.

So there you go, three finishes for Early Christmas Crafting and OPAM Challenge, Judith’s challenge met, and Jenny’s challenge met. If it wasn’t for these incentives I don’t think anything would have been finished this month.  Let’s see how I go in September.

Oh, and I made a batch of Jodie’s scrummy lemonade scones for morning tea today.  You should try them.  They will definitely be going in my recipe book to make again.

Tuesday 24 August 2010

Tuesday Treasures

It’s that time of the week again.  This time I thought I would deviate from sewing stuff and share one of my other loves – books.

We have lots and lots of books.  There are bookcases everywhere in our house, but my treasure lives in this one.  The photos aren’t the best as it is another grey old day here.

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When my Aunty Rose visited us some years ago she was browsing the shelves and noticed I have quite a few of the “Billabong” series by Mary Grant Bruce.  Shortly thereafter, a parcel arrived enclosing this volume.

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They say that writing on the fly leaf reduces the value of a book, but for me this makes it so very special.

Muriel was my Dad’s aunt.  She died when I was about 10 and I never met her.  I did however receive my first inheritance from her estate. I was given her embroidered handkerchief sachet full of beautiful hankies.

Anyway, I digress. 

The book was then passed down to my Aunty Rose who is also my godmother and she has now passed it on to me.  I hope that one day one of my nieces will appreciate this little book as well.

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Pop over to Clare’s to see some more Tuesday Treasures.

Sunday 22 August 2010

Sue Spargo Day 2

We had our second day of the Sue Spargo workshop today and it finished off a wonderful friendly weekend. 

Today we learnt lots of interesting stitches and different ways to use them.  The beauty of it is, that there is no right and wrong way to do things, just play and see what effects you can create.

I must say I don’t have much to show for  the day, but I will be able to play at my own leisure, with no pressure and no one seeing when I make mistakes.  I will sit down with my embroidery books and see what I can come up with.

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I started adding beads to my poisonous mushrooms.  Still a few more to go.

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I tried doing some Palestrina Knots, but I’m not happy with the results, so I’ll pull them out and have a bit of a practice on a scrap before having another go, as they give a lovely effect.

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Fly stitch is a wonderfully effective stitch with lots of applications.  I love the effect around this leaf.  I still have to decide what to do next on it.  I had to include an apple (although this looks more like a cherry) as Mum grew up on an orchard.

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I think I might be finished this leaf, but then again, I may add something more to it.  I have used scroll stitch around the edge with a really fine cord thread.  I love the effect it has created.  Up the middle is more fly stitch with some beads as well.

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Here I have started with a beaded edge.  I don’t know what I’ll do next. 

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I think half the fun is thinking about what to do where, and just letting it evolve. I’m not going to rush to finish this wall hanging.  It will be a project I can pick up every now and then and play a bit more with.  It will be a good one to take to our patchwork group.

It was great fun seeing what effects the other ladies had come up with.  Each piece is truly unique.

Us locals were well and truly outnumbered on the weekend.  There were several from Sydney, some from the southern highlands, one lady from Inverell and two ladies even came over from Perth.

We had a lovely group on our table.

Marg and Liz from Perth

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Dawn and Teri-Ann

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Susan, Cheryl and Beth

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And, of course, Sue was our great tutor.

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I think everyone was a bit sad the weekend was over, but we all have a lovely little memento.  Everyone was given a little bird from the table centres. Mine even matches my autumn tree.

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Thanks so much Sue, and thanks to Anni and all the team at The Home Patch for organising such a great weekend. 

Sue Spargo Day 1

I had a lovely day at the Sue Spargo workshop yesterday.

We were greeted with tables decorated with lovely little birds.

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Sue did a show and tell of her amazing work.  It is so beautiful in real life – vibrant and rich.  You just want to touch it to really appreciate the different textures and layers.

Then it was onto creating our own pieces.  Such a variety of interpretations.

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So, this is where I was up to after yesterday’s class.

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I played a little more last night, once again making a glorious mess all over the dining room table.

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Today we will start embellishing the leaves and adding more bits and pieces.  This is the bit I am looking forward to.

Saturday 21 August 2010

Blank Canvas

This weekend will be great fun as the Sue Spargo two day workshop has finally come around.

I’ve finished my homework. 

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I’m a little worried about the bulk in the seams with the velvety border, as I can’t press them, but I’ll just have to quilt it within an inch of its life when it is finished.

I have all sorts of bits and pieces packed for embellishing – probably far too much, but if I leave something at home you can guarantee I will want it.

Tuesday 17 August 2010

Tuesday Treasures - Grandma

I can’t believe it is Tuesday Treasure time again already.

This week I’ll show you some bits and bobs from Grandma.

My Grandma Mabel is pictured here on the left with her sister  Maud. They grew up in the Lakes District in northern England.  Their brother and my Grandfather were best mates and came out to Australia.  They both settled and then Grandma, Maud and their parents came out.  They settled near Gayndah in Queensland, whereas Granddad settled at Hartley Vale in New South Wales.

Grandma and Maud had a double wedding and then both had their first child on the same day a bit over a year later, which also happened to be Grandma’s birthday.

Grandma & Aunty Maud

Enough family history, onto the sewing.  This is actually Mum’s treasure, but I wanted to share.  This doyley is Grandma’s first ever crochet.  When I was learning to crochet using 8-ply wool it always amazed me that this had been created by a very young child.

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Look how fine the crochet thread is and then the lovely feather stitch on the centre.  The only  hint that this is a small child’s work is the wonky circle.  Despite that it received much use over the years.

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Grandma was 16 when they immigrated in 1913. This little box accompanied her.  It is from their local jewellers shop in England.

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This lives in it.  Although I have a little thimble collection, this is Mum’s treasure.  The maker’s mark is “JS” which is James Swann of Birmingham.

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I don’t think the silver thimble was  used regularly. This steel and brass one was her everyday thimble.  It is so lovely and shiny as it is now Mum’s everyday thimble.  As Mum has got older, her finger has outgrown her usual thimble.  Grandma’s thimble fits me perfectly too.

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My treasures from Grandma that are sewing related are surprisingly few as most are over at Mum’s, but I do have her knitting needles in their lovely old art deco bakelite case.

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For our wedding present my Uncle Chris gave us Grandma’s kitchen dresser.  Grandma’s home was a very basic weatherboard cottage that grew as required and was definitely nothing flash.  I can’t remember it and Mum says that is a good thing.  Grandma had her wish of a new home come true a few years before she died and Uncle Chris still lives there.  The old dresser was relegated to a shed once the new kitchen was installed and I always loved it.  This is the original paint job, carried out by Grandma in the 30s. Even when the fashion was to strip everything back I just loved the cream with the green highlights. (By the way, I don’t collect jugs.)

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How is the dresser related to sewing.  Well, with the dresser I received the two runners made especially for it by Grandma.  They are very fragile, but I still use them.  Mum also made me one as well.

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They have very simple embroidery which I wouldn’t be surprised if Grandma drew up herself. 

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The colours on this one are so very 30s.

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And that’s it for this week.

You can find other treasures over at Clare’s.

You may notice a distinct lack of sewing on my behalf. I have done a tiny bit of hand stitching, but have nothing to show, which is very sad.  I’ll have to get a wriggle on.

Tuesday 10 August 2010

Tuesday Treasures – Granny Johnson

Continuing on from last Tuesday’s nostalgic post I thought I would share some sewing related treasures that I have been lucky enough to be given that were Granny Johnson’s.  Granny Johnson (my Dad’s mum) died when I was a baby, so I have no recollection of her.

This photo was taken when Kathleen Amy Garland, as she was then, was eighteen. She went on to marry and raise 9 children.

Granny Johnson aged 18

Here she is again much later in life, more the “Granny Johnson”. I can see the family resemblance of my aunts in her.

Granny Johnson

Two of my aunts, Aunty Jess and Aunty Doreen, never married and they gave me a few family bits and pieces.  When I was five Aunty Doreen gave me Granny Johnson’s work basket and needle book.  It was used to store my sewing when I was little, but for many years now has been my hankie box.  It may not have been her main work basket, but it is very old and I treasure it.  I have seen several needle books like this one, and when I look closely, it was a free gift with an edition of Woman’s Realm.

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When I think about it, I can’t imagine a five year old appreciating a gift like that.  I think I was a funny little girl, very sentimental.

As I got older, I started collecting interesting thimbles.  Aunty Jess learnt of this and gave me this beautiful specimen.  You can’t see it all that well in the photo, but there are holes all around it from much use.  The engraved monogram is “FJ”. This belonged to Fanny Johnson, who was my Dad’s paternal grandmother, so is probably well over 100 years old.  There are initials “J.F.” as the maker, which is James Fenton of Birmingham, who was a famous thimble maker.

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So what about Granny Johnson’s handiwork.

Somewhere along the line, while still a teenager, my aunts gave me two jug covers worked by her.  This one is quite heavy with all the beautiful beading.  The other one has the tiniest jug crocheted in the centre, but a bead has come off, so it is packed away safely until I fix it one day and I can’t put my finger on it this morning.

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Then, when Mick and I got engaged this arrived in the post.

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The tissue paper has faded now, but it was blue twenty five years ago.  As you can see, I’ve never used it, but what a wonderful thing to receive as an engagement gift.  The workmanship is so very fine.

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Next week I will see what I can find from Mum’s side of the family.

I’m so enjoying “Tuesday Treasures” and having a closer look at what I have stashed away.  Yes, I am the world’s biggest hoarder. 

Pop over to Clare’s to see what other treasures are being shown off.

Sunday 8 August 2010

Prep Class

I had a lovely afternoon today in at The Home Patch.

In a fortnight Sue Spargo will be conducting a two day workshop on embellishing a Tree of Life in her own unique style. Today there was a little class to get started on your required homework.  We are to have our tree appliquéd onto the background and have our borders prepared.

In our project we will mainly use felted wool, with some velvet, ribbons, buttons and whatever other interesting bits a pieces we have. I don’t have a very big stash of felted wool (I actually have next to none).  I do, however, have a big tub of velvety furnishing fabric samples that came from my mother-in-law many years ago, so took them along. In the end, I’m going to use them in my borders.  They are very 70s and have determined my colour choice.  They will be horrible to sew with, but I’ll just take my time.  Fortunately, things don’t have to be perfect in this project. 

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I don’t have a lot to show for the afternoon, but at least some time consuming planning has been done.

I can’t wait for the big weekend to dress it all up.

Tuesday 3 August 2010

Tuesday Treasures

When I was looking for photos of Golly the other week I came across a very special one. It was taken in 1984 on my brand new 35mm camera.  I was sitting on the floor reading the manual and fiddling with the settings and pretending to take photos (you couldn’t waste film then – thank goodness for digitals). 

Because I was just fiddling, Mum and Dad were not paying any attention to me and I was able to take this photo of ordinariness (is that a word?). Unlike most of our family photos, it is not posed and looks so natural, Dad watching the TV and Mum working on something. 

In this case, it was a yo-yo bedspread from whatever cotton scraps she had. When finished, it lived on their bed on top of the navy blue chenille bedspread.  It was never backed, so the navy showed through.  I don’t know what has become of it now, it is probably stored in the linen press.

Mum & Dad June 84

Fast forward twenty six years and not a lot has changed.  The lounge suite has been replaced and the furniture rearranged, but of an evening Mum will be sitting working on something.  At the moment she is knitting little swagmen as well as embroidering a band to go on a tea towel and crocheting the edge of the tea towel. She is still an active member of the local community craft shop and is making things for it all the time. This was taken not long before Dad discovered the joy of spinning, so now he is often sitting at his wheel in front of the TV.

So what is the treasure?  Having crafting of all sorts as a natural part of everyday life. I am so grateful that Mum introduced me to many crafts from when I was quite little, as she had been and her mother before.  Not only that, there are still items in existence from all three of us that were made when we were little.  I think I will share next time.  I’ll have to go and take some photos over at Mum’s.