Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Tuesday Treasures and I Can Remember How to Sew

Gosh, where did the last week go.  I can’t believe it is Tuesday Treasures time again.

I had a wander around this morning to see what I would share and came up with this little duo.  They live on the bookcase in the living room.

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I’ve had these for quite a while.  I don’t know the origin of my little puppy, but I can remember the arrival of my train.  We were down at Grandma’s and Mum and Grandma went into town leaving us kids behind.  They returned with a train for each of us.  As you can see, both these little pull along toys saw much use and love.  The train has a little squeaker, which still works.  The puppy’s head nods, as it is on a spring.  He had lost an ear and his tail, but Dad replaced them.  It doesn’t matter that they don’t match his surviving black ear.

Pop over to Melody’s to see what other treasures are on show this week.

Also, can you believe it I have made something that I can show.  Sewing seems to have been on the back burner lately.

Each year I like to make a Christmas decoration for each of my little nieces.  This year I chose a pattern from Handmade by Lisa Cox.  I thought these handbags were just too cute.

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Once I had made them from the pattern in the magazine I felt they were a bit too small, so I added 1/4” seam allowance to the pattern and made a larger version which I like better. Therefore, the girls will get two little handbags each.  Yet another quick and effective idea.

Monday, 29 November 2010

The Spirit of Christmas

After our twilight Tall Ship Cruise on Saturday we just wandered back to our hotel in Ultimo, taking in the sights of the city at Christmas time.

We like to visit Sydney at this time of year, although it doesn’t happen very often.  Even Mick gets into the spirit of things and he DOES NOT LIKE shops and crowds. 

We planned on going for a wander on Sunday morning but seeing everything at night instead was much better.

Firstly, the tree in Martin Place.  It sparkles and flashes at different times.

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The Strand Arcade was closed but you could still see inside. Stunning as usual.

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We both looked forward to visiting the David Jones window display with its puppets.  They have been a feature of Christmas in Sydney for many, many years.  Mum took us to see them for the first time when I was about nine.  This year the theme was Christmas Carols.

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They looked beautiful at night.

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Can you believe it, we had it nearly to ourselves.  No crowds pushing you around.

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This lady was even doing her needlework.

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See, Mick does really enjoy all this.  He then started whistling Christmas carols.  He’s just a big softy at heart.

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Finally,for the grand finale, we were just in time to see the ginormous Christmas tree in the Queen Victoria Building.

This is on the ground floor.

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We then climbed to the third floor.

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And looked right up into the dome. I’ve no idea how they put it in place.

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All this Christmas cheer has put me in the mood to decorate our Christmas tree next weekend. 

Sunday, 28 November 2010

We are Sailing, We are Sailing……

No, not on this one. 

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This is more like it.

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We were given a gift voucher for a twilight cruise on the “Southern Swan” for Christmas LAST year and thought we’d better do something about using it before it expired, so we had a lovely weekend in Sydney playing the tourist.

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She was built in Norway in the early 1920s as a cargo ship and plied her trade between Norway and Greenland for about 30 years before being pensioned off.  An English couple bought her and fitted her out as a yacht to live on, but found it too expensive. While they were in the USA were able to charter her to the Canadian Navy as a training vessel.  In the mid 80s she was back in England and took part in the First Fleet re-enactment which saw her sail into Sydney in January 1988.  She has remained here ever since.

Wouldn’t this be a terrible job.

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The weather was quite breezy and the water choppy, so we motored out towards the heads and then sailed back towards the harbour bridge.

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It was so peaceful without the motors running.

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It’s a tough life, but someone’s got to do it.

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Heading back home.

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Mick was taking it all in.

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We had a wonderful time. It was a very thoughtful gift.

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Friday, 26 November 2010

Where the Wild Things Grow

We have some lovely roses climbing over our orchard fence and also the chook yard.  They are looking rather spectacular this year, so must thrive on neglect.

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Note the lovely mauve contrast of the Patterson’s Curse:>)

The first rose is “Wedding Day” with its lovely single petals, complete with little beetle.

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Next is “Zepherine Drouhin”. This thornless rose would have to be about my favourite.  Unfortunately, her spring flush is past its prime, but she will continue to bloom right through to autumn.

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And lastly, “New Dawn”.  This beautiful soft pink climber has completely covered the chook yard, so it is quite dark in there.

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I just love the way the flowers unfurl.

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Imagine how good these would look if I actually took care of them.

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PS.  Mick just finished the mowing and presented me with these.  Isn’t he sweet.

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Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Tuesday Treasures – with Melody

After thinking that last week would be the end of “Tuesday Treasures” I was delighted to hear that Melody from The House on the Side of the Hill has put her hand up to continue this great game.

I had to have a little think as to what to include this week and came up with this quirky little piece.

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It is titled “Tea for 3 at the Quilting “B””.  Mick gave it to me for Christmas a few years ago.

I spotted it in a little shop in Richmond and commented on it.  We were with another couple at the time and I was carefully ushered out of the shop to go a look at “girly” shops without the boys and they would catch us up.  Funnily enough, the boys arrived with our mate carrying a bag and no explanation.

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I wasn’t at all surprised when I opened the gift on Christmas day, but I love the fact they all went to so much trouble to make it a “Surprise”.

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It is such a cheery item to have sitting on the bookshelf.  Another of Mick’s very thoughtful gifts.

Pop over to Melody’s to see who else is playing this week.  I think she may even have a little surprise for some lucky person.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Cross Stitch Shame

I’ve loved peeking at all the beautiful cross stitch creations that have been on show for the last week or so thanks to Chookyblue’s interest.

I don’t have any to share.

I did do lots of cross stitch in the early 90s, but I was a member of a local craft shop and I just made many, many cards and book marks which have all been sold, so nothing to show for it.

I was introduced to cross stitch very early.  I fell in love with samplers after seeing one in the museum at Port Macquarie while on holidays.  It was completed by a 7 year old and that just amazed me, as I was about that age at the time.

This basket hides my shame.

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This is my first cross stitch UFO. I know that Grandma was still alive when I started it and she died when I was 9 – in 1974.

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It would have been much better worked in more than 2 strands, and as I didn’t like the way it was looking, didn’t finish it.  It is supposed to be a placemat with a row of little Dutch girls.

My next foray into cross stitch was in Year 12 Textiles and Design. The little slip of paper is the marks from the teacher – 88/100.

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I found the acorn border pattern on the inside cover on a beautiful book on stitchery.  The remainder of the designs came from this little book which Mum had given me. There was very little available on the subject back then.

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As you can see there is still a lot to do.  This is the design which is supposed to go in the big area at the bottom.

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Thread and colour selection were determined by the contents of Mum’s thread box, hence the rather mish mashed look.  None of them were bought.  They are Semco, Coats Anchor and even some old Perilusta – no DMC back then.  That was all very well until you ran out of a colour, and that is what was happening with the green for the forest. I think I was also daunted as to what colours to use for the sleigh and horses.  Therefore, it got put away. 

There were much more fun things to be doing when I had just finished school, so I never pulled it out again. Also, if you look closely, all the cross stitches are done back to front.  They were started from the top left, not the bottom.

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Maybe one day I will finish it off.  Nah, probably not.

While I’m sharing my shame I will show you my oldest UFO of all, which also resides in the same basket.

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I know that I started this little tapestry when I was 5! Once again, the threads came from Mum’s box and the green was going to run out before the grass was finished.  Therefore, it was put away.  In hindsight, I’m really surprised that Mum didn’t push me a bit more to finish it. Oh, well, it will continue to languish in my basket. It will never be thrown out, but never finished.

The most recent little bit of cross stitch I have done is this lovely bookmark.  I bought the kit in 2007 at Fort Augustus on the shores of Loch Lomond and worked it while we were travelling around.  It was lovely to sit quietly and stitch at times and is a nice memento of that trip.

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I’m guessing that as a result of Chookyblue’s inspiration there will be a cross stitch revival among the blogging community as so many have also been cross stitchers. It will be interesting to see.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Farewell Felix

We lost our Felix last week.  He didn’t come home for tea, which wasn’t out of the ordinary, but he wasn’t there for breakfast the next day …….. or that evening.  He was a bit of a wanderer and the brown and tiger snakes are about, so we feared the worst.


Those fears were realised when Mick found him a couple of days ago.  He had obviously been bitten, found himself a quiet spot and slowed his metabolism right down, as he hadn’t been dead all that long.

It is very sad, but at least we know where he is and he is at peace.  Apparently, cats put themselves into a coma after a snake bite, so aren’t in pain.


Felix was such a funny little chap.  He wasn’t overly affectionate, but sometimes would snuggle up for a cuddle.  His face always looked a bit worried.  The photo of him on the day we brought him home captures that look perfectly.  He was just over three years old and his litter mate Joey is missing him, as they were such good friends and always slept curled up together. We will have to lavish him with extra love.

It’s funny, I take so many photos but I have next to none of the cats.

Rest in peace Felix.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Tuesday Treasures – Finale

As this is to be the final episode of Tuesday Treasures I thought I’d better hunt out my very special patchwork treasure. 

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After a bit of a search through the blanket box it was located.

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As usual, there is a story behind this treasure.

When we were kids we would go down to Grandma’s in the May and August school holidays, just Mum, my brother and I, as Dad would still be at work.  I would share Mum’s big (for a little girl) three quarter size bed and my brother would be in the daybed.  Sometimes the three of us would be in the big bed singing “There were three in the bed and the middle one said ‘Roll Over, Roll Over’, so they all rolled over and one fell out”. It was good fun.

I always loved the bedspread.  Some years ago I asked Mum if she knew what had become of it.  She wasn’t sure, so next time she was down there she asked the question.  “Oh, that old thing, I used it to cover the tractor to keep the frost off it”.  Mum’s heart sank.  “Pink, wasn’t it?” Mum felt a wave of relief.  “No, it was blue.”  After a bit of a rat around, the bedspread was found in the bottom of a wardrobe, so she brought it home and I now have it.

In 1952 Mum and Uncle Chris went to Queensland for a holiday visiting cousins.  While they were away Grandma got busy and made a new bedspread for Mum’s bed.

Unfortunately, it is rather dull here this morning, so the photos are a bit washed out. The colours are actually quite a bit more vibrant.

The top of the bedspread is a pretty cretonne with a floor length skirt of blue lawn.  Unfortunately, the lawn is very faded and fragile and has some holes appearing in it.  It needs a good wash, but I’m worried it will fall apart, so it just gets stored as is.

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The best bit is the reverse side.  Now, my memory had played tricks on me, as I could have sworn it was made of crazy patchwork, but when Mum gave it to me this is what it looks like.  As it fits a three quarter bed it is a bit big for this bed.

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The fabrics are all dressmaking scraps and Mum can identify many as being her childhood clothes from the 30s.  Zoom in to have a closer look at the pattern details.

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It is actually a “Wagga”.  The patchwork is machine quilted onto an old blanket and then the skirt is sandwiched between the patchwork and the cretonne, thereby not showing the quilting lines on the top of the bedspread. I’ve never seen another Wagga that has a skirt.

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Notice a blue fabric with leaves on it in the top right had corner of the next photo.

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In the early 80s I covered a coat hanger in patchwork and I used that same fabric. It had migrated to Mum’s scrap bag over the years.  It then moved to my stash and I still have a tiny bit of it.

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I used to love looking through Grandma’s scrap bag.  There were beautiful 30s fabrics. Yes, I can remember some of the ones in the bedspread being in the scrap bag. There were also lovely rayons that always felt so nice and the designs were gorgeous.  I assume they have all been tossed out.  That’s the way things go.  Not everything can be kept.

By the way, the bedspread was made with Grandma’s old Singer treadle machine.  It is a 1918 model that Granddad bought at an auction sale in 1928, just AFTER Grandma had finished making all Uncle Chris’ baby clothes by hand……and yes, I have it sitting in the lounge room.   It still sews beautifully, but Mum reckons it is nowhere near as good as it was before she sewed a leather handbag on it!  She used if for all her Tech sewing for many years.  Mum very nearly sold the sewing machine some years ago.  Fortunately, she mentioned her intention and I ended up with it.  She didn’t think I’d want it as I already had a treadle machine.  Wrong!


The old chair sitting in front of it was Grandma’s chair that came from that same auction in the 20s. I can still picture Grandma sitting in her chair by the window, with my brother on her lap reading him “The Three Billy Goats Gruff” and “The Little Red Hen”.  She was the only one who could get him to sit still long enough to read him a story and she had to read them over and over again. The chair ended up in a very sorry state in a shed, so Mick and I stripped it back to just the timber frame and then had it reupholstered.  I’m not in love with the fabric, but it was the best we could come up with at the time.

I’ve had great fun over the past few weeks sharing some of my treasures.  As you can tell, I’m one heck of a hoarder.

Thanks so much Claire for being a wonderful hostess.  Pop over to Claire’s to see what other treasures are on show this final week.